Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

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Dr Robin Lovelace

University Academic Fellow - Transport and Big Data

Phone: +44 (0)113 34 36496 (ITS) or x30691 (LIDA)
Room: 2.04
Research Group: Spatial Modelling and Dynamics

I am a Geographer and Environmental Scientist by training with expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), data analysis and modelling. Through my PhD on the Energy Costs of Commuting, I developed a strong interest in modelling large transport systems at high levels of geographical resolution. This interest continued to grow during my 2 post-doctorate positions as Research Fellow in Geospatial Data Analysis and Simulation (TALISMAN) and in the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA).

The 5 year University Academic Fellowship in Transport and Big Data is an exciting opportunity to put the Institute for Transport Studies at the forefront of new methods in transport research. I plan to apply my skills to tackle a range of applied and academic problems in transportation, including:

  • Development of online, interactive tools for transport planning.
  • Analysis of the potential for shifts to sustainable transport modes at high levels of geographical resolution (down to the road segment level).
  • Developing and teaching new open source software for transport planning.
  • Modelling decarbonisation pathways for city, national and global transport systems as part of a global transition away from fossil fuels.

An ongoing project that illustrates each of these facets of my research profile is the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT), which has been described by the Department for Transport as “a is a brilliant example of using Big Data to better plan infrastructure investment” (Shane Snow, Head of Seamless Travel at the Department for Transport). To test out the PCT please see For more up-to-date information about my work, please check out my academic publications, my website, and my Twitter feed @robinlovelace.

I have developed many popular workshops, module sessions and tutorials in the areas of transport, GIS and data analysis. A selection of the teaching materials that have been made available is provided below:

  • The recently published book Efficient R Programming (Gillespie and Lovelace, 2016) provides a strong foundation for transport research and others wanting to improve their programming skills - see for a free, online version of the book or O'Reilly Press to buy a hard copy.
  • Spatial Microsimulation with R (Lovelace and Dumont, 2016) is a teaching resource aimed at PhD students and others who need to simulate individual processes over geographical space. See for more information.
  • Introduction to Spatial Visualisation with R (Lovelace et al. 2015) provides a basic introduction to mapping with R and has been downloaded and used around the world by a growing user community.

At ITS I will focus on up-skilling students' ability to use and program open source software packages such as QGIS and R. I will also be teaching on the modules Sustainable Spatial Planning and Analysis and Transport Data Science.





  • Lovelace R; Dumont M (2016) Spatial Microsimulation with R, CRC Press.
  • Gillespie C; Lovelace R (2016) Efficient R Programming: A Practical Guide to Smarter Programming, O’Reilly Media.
  • Lovelace R; McLoughlin A (2014) Engineering in Development: Transport, Engineers Without Borders.

Book Chapters


Conference Papers

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