Transport & Mobility

Transport Policy

Research on policy options, policy effects and policy design and its supporting tools.

Transport demand 
Research on the factors that impact choise behaviour of decision makers in mobility and transport.

Transport Supply (service networks)
Research on the design and operation of (public transport) service networks.

Public and private policy making for transport is aimed at the problem how to realize safe, sustainable, and reliable transport in the prevailing conditions. Multi-actor decision making is a dominant issue because so many decision making power is distributed in society. The inherent uncertainty in policy making is partly due to a lack of knowledge about the processes in society and behaviour of people, but also due to the many unpredictable external forces.
Important research questions are:

  • Development of robust policy processes which can deal with uncertainty in an effective way;
  • Methodologies for multi-actor decision making;
  • Development of policy options that improve sustainability of transport;
  • Development of policies for innovations;
  • Multi-actor decision making;
  • How to deal with changing regulations (especially in the European context);
  • The impact of changing roles between different layers of government.

Theoretical developments are interesting, but the real scientific challenge is more in action research: knowledge development in which researchers are involved in the change process and where the change process influences the knowledge development directly. Co-evolution of knowledge and the subject of the research is an important research methodology.

TRAIL staff members and research groups of prof. Van Wee, prof. Kleinknecht, prof. Hale, dr. Stoop, dr. Van Geenhuizen, dr. Koppejan (TU Delft), prof. Teisman and dr. Geerlings (EUR) are involved in this research theme.

Demand for transport of people and freight is a consequence of the culture and economic, social and spatial structure of society. Traffic demand is the consequence of transport demand and possibilities offered by the transport and traffic system, such as traffic modes, traffic infrastructure, routes, transfer options etc. Freight transport demand is rapidly changing, e.g. due to changing production methods, distribution of production processes over the world and the upcoming application of ICT. The scientific questions relate to the modelling of the behaviour of people  travellers, shippers and forwarders – and the identification of factors that can change that behaviour such that transport becomes more sustainable. Especially important are the influence of uncertainty on travel and transport decisions. The existing theories that can deal with this aspect are still limited while the role of uncertainty on behaviour is obvious.
Another limitation of most theory on transport demand is that it assumes the existence of equilibrium. In reality the conditions are often changing with such a pace that the decision takers have not the time to come to a stable behaviour. Therefore adaptation of behaviour to uncertain, changing conditions is a challenging area for research.
Important disciplines are the social sciences, such as economy, sociology, and psychology next to disciplines as operations research and statistics. Since human behaviour is strongly influenced by the available technology, this theme has the possibility for a beneficial interaction between social sciences and more technological disciplines like information technology.

TRAIL staff members and research groups of Prof. Van der Heijden, Prof. Tavasszy (RUN), prof. Van den Berg (EUR), prof. Van Wee, dr. Stead and dr. Molin (TU Delft) are involved in this research theme.

With respect to transport supply, individual (ad hoc) or network services can be provided. Services are generally designed as collective services for people or for freight.

These services are often offered, maintained and sometimes regulated and governed by several different actors. In one way or another, co-ordination, co-operation and collaboration between different actors have to be established. This issue is complex and has many facets: e.g. economic, cultural, and institutional. Co-ordination is necessary in order to avoid inconsistencies in the services, to improve the efficiency by removing redundancies and by optimizing, and to fill in gaps in services. Co-operation is necessary in the sense that operators make use of each other services to improve the quality of their own service. Collaboration – meaning that service providers integrate concepts of their colleagues or competitors – can be necessary in order to bring their own service to a higher quality level. Challenges with respect to networks of services are especially in the optimization of services and the optimization of coordination and cooperation. This is the domain of operations research combined with social sciences, economy. Innovations in service networks need many disciplines, technical, social as well as analytical.

TRAIL staff members and research groups of Prof. Bovy, prof. Van Wee, dr. Van Nes, dr. Janic (TU Delft), Prof. Van der Heijden (RUN) are involved in this research theme.


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