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Postgraduate Research

PhD Studentship

Smart, Green and Integrated Transport - Personalised Traffic Health Planner

DIGITS - DMU Interdisciplinary Group in Intelligent Transport Systems, School of Computer Science and Informatics, Faculty of Technology, De Montfort University, Leicester

STARTING OCTOBER 2013

A PhD research studentship covering stipend and tuition fee costs is offered within the Faculty of Technology working with an internationally recognised research team in the area of Computational Intelligence applied to Transportation Systems. It is available to suitably qualified UK or EU students.

One of the European Commission’s (EC’s) Societal Challenges is attaining “Smart, Green and Integrated Transport” [1].  There is a need for innovative techniques to maximise the usage of the existing network in a way that is sustainable, energy efficient and respectful of the environment. In the UK, the DfT projects an increase in road traffic between 34% and 55% higher than 2010 [2].  Positive economic and environmental impacts can be achieved without the need to invest in new systems, and capital-intensive development. Indeed, simpler and cheaper solutions can be achieved offering an optimal combination of the different modes of transport available including at least some of the least polluting and most energy efficient ones [3].

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are playing a growing role in supporting the transport infrastructure; including delivery of logistics solutions, active traffic management and passenger information services. These systems however tend to be based on classical algorithmic solutions. It is therefore necessary to develop and apply novel techniques such as Computational Intelligence (CI) to provide alternative solutions that are better suited to handle the varied multi-dimensional nature of transport related data [4]. In this PhD Scholarship proposal, DIGITS aims to define, explore and implement new applications of CI to improve sustainability in transport. This will take a particular focus on service modelling and management, contributing towards the EU Horizon 2020 challenge of achieving a smart, green and integrated transport system. An obvious approach would be to develop smarter choices so that people’s travel behaviour could be influenced towards more sustainable options [5]. Such intelligent systems could also be used to provide reliable information to policy-makers and private-sector stakeholders, contributing towards making sustainable transport a reality [6].

PhD proposal: Personalised traffic health planner - park and walk-cycle approach to congestion and health

Current transport systems are biased towards the promotion of car use schemes, which are recognised as having a negative impact on both the environment (pollution) and on people’s health (road accidents, injuries or deaths, poor fitness). Obesity is a growing problem, both specifically in Leicester and globally. Over half the EU population is either overweight or obese [7]. Adding to this the actual rise in fuel price, it is imperative to develop safe, smart and sustainable transport schemes that could, in the first place, reduce the negative effect of current transport schemes, and, in the second place, provide choices to drivers and commuters who might be willing to take environmentally, healthy and intelligent mobility alternatives.

The aim of this research proposal is to investigate and develop a recommendation system based on drivers’ preferences with the added bonus of improving transport and mobility in urban areas. The system will generate personalized and relevant healthy traffic journeys (outputs) with respect to the drivers’ preferences (input). In doing this, drivers will be allowed to view different travel options and plan their best journey. A novel methodology based on the use of fuzzy set theory to model uncertainty from the information contained in the users’ preferences and the environment-traffic data processes by the iTRAQ simulator will be required to be developed.

Potential research impacts associated to this project include:

  • Reduction of time spent in automobiles, which will contribute to achieve more sustainable transport systems, cleaner environment and better health of others;
  • Reduction of accident rates and therefore safer transport systems 
  • Smart, safer and healthier journeys due to the dynamic nature of environment and traffic data, in conjunction with journey preferences (average duration of walk-cycling, pace, level of noise, cultural, entertainment, etc.) will lead to the dynamic nature of recommendation.

Level of public engagement: Based on current collaborative work with Leicester City Council, the potential impact of a personal travel planner was highlighted. Such a tool may provide a healthier lifestyle in combination with a more intelligent personal transport plan to the general public. As part of this project, a mobile app based personal travel planner, made by DIGITS-DMU and supported by the local authority, will be used to engage the general public in various ways: test, evaluation, and demonstration. Also, a web version of the app will be made available for educational purposes at schools and dissemination of the project for the general public. A series of outreach activities could be planned for Open Days at DMU, and for UK and international transport related workshops.

  1. European Commission (2011). Horizon 2020 - The framework programme for research and innovation.
  2. UK Department for Transport, (2012). Road transport forecasts 2011.
  3. European Commission (2012). Research and innovation for Europe's future mobility: Developing a European transport-technology strategy.
  4. Goodyer, et al. (2011). The International Journal for Traffic and Transport Engineering, 1(3), 180-186.
  5. European Commission (2012). Mobility and transport: Sustainable transport.
  6. UK Department for Transport (2012). Working with businesses and people to reduce the need to travel
  7. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Overweight_and_obesity_-_BMI_statistics  

For a more detailed description of the studentship project please contact Professor Francisco Chiclana on +44 (0)116 2078413 or email chiclana@dmu.ac.uk|

This research opportunity builds on our excellent past achievements and looking forward to REF2014 and beyond. It will develop the university’s research capacity into new and evolving areas of study, enhancing DMU’s national and international research partnerships.

To receive an application pack, please contact the Graduate School Office via email at researchstudents@dmu.ac.uk| Completed applications should be returned together with two supporting references.

Please quote ref: DMU Research Scholarships 2013

CLOSING DATE:  Friday 15th March 2013

 
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