Application of system dynamics to transport challenges


Contact Professor Simon Shepherd to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Abbas and Bell (1994) outlined the modelling approach used in system dynamics and listed 12 advantages of the approach compared to traditional transport modelling. In particular they suggested the approach would be well suited to strategic policy analysis and as a support tool for decision-making. In essence, transportation systems are complex, they often involve a number of different stakeholders or agents which results in feedbacks with different time lags between the responses of each type of user. System dynamics models offer a whole system approach to transport planning and with this different perspective the importance of these feedbacks and lagged responses can be demonstrated to policy makers. The system dynamics platforms also offer specialised tools , which aid in the calibration of models, optimisation of policies and improve ease of use through flight simulators which all contribute to the understanding of the whole underlying system.

This topic is open in terms of transport application and the candidate is able to suggest an area of interest to them.

For a review of previous research using system dynamics see:

  • Abbas, K.A., and Bell, M.G.H. (1994). System dynamics applicability to transportation modeling. Transportation Research Part A, 28(5), 373-390
  • Shepherd, S.P. (2014) A review of system dynamics models applied in transportation. Transportmetrica B: Transport Dynamics, 2014.

Key benefits

Learning how to devise a model and build it using the system dynamics approach

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in a quantitative discipline. Candidates should have a clearly specified and achievable research goal. Candidates for the one year research degree normally already have some research experience.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

Additional staff contact

Dr Chandra Balijepalli

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is the ‘Application of system dynamics to transport challenges' as well as Professor Simon Shepherd as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office e:, t: +44 (0)113 34 35326.