Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Spatial Modelling and Dynamics

What brings us together?

Developing and validating mathematical and statistical models and simulation tools for the representation, analysis and optimisation of traffic and transportation systems with a particular focus on the use of big data in new modelling approaches


  • Development of advanced spatial modelling tools including traffic assignment (e.g. SATURN), strategic land use transport interaction assessment (e.g. MARS), microscopic traffic simulation (e.g. DRACULA), and evaluation of traffic emissions and air pollution (e.g. COMIS)
  • Design of methodologies for dynamic modelling: micro-simulation to system dynamics
  • Traffic flow theory, network performance analysis and real-time traffic management

Priority research topics

  • Road pricing and network design problems
  • Visioning transport futures (e.g. sustainable urban environment, the role of walking and cycling)
  • Modelling automated driving supported by connected Intelligent Transport Systems and the Internet Of Things
  • Optimal fuel consumption with predictive powertrain control and calibration for intelligent trucks
  • Cloud-based traffic monitoring and modelling for real-time automatic incident detection and duration prediction
  • Artificial Intelligence tools for the simulation and optimisation of automated real-time rescheduling and operations of rail services
  • Assessment of innovative and efficient urban mobility solutions
  • Data connectivity and complexity, and implications of big data on policy
  • Traffic induced air pollution episodes and personal exposure
  • Modelling and assessment of the disruption of emergency evacuation and network resilience


Example PhD topics

  • Train timetable rescheduling
  • Tools for participation in transport planning
  • International transport policy in case of landlocked countries
  • Airport-driven development, transport planning and sustainable mobility
  • Towards comprehensive measures of performance and reliability for London’s multi-modal public transport networks
  • A Systematic Method for Constructing Long-Term Futures Incorporating Qualitative Evidence
  • Mobility-related social exclusion and socioeconomic evaluation of transport projects
  • Integrating disaster mitigation strategies in an integrated land use and transport plan for urban transport sustainability
  • Development of network-wide traffic signal control algorithms
  • Vehicles interacting with automated and connected vehicles in mixed traffic

Read more on PhD topics


For further information about the work of the Spatial Modelling and Dynamics research group, please contact Dr Haibo Chen or Professor David Watling.