Finished PhD projects

Robust multi-objective multimodal network design




Robust multi-objective multimodel network design




Prof. Dr. Ir. E.C. (Eric) van Berkum

PhD student:

Ir. Ties Brands


Site Ties Brands


The project Strategy towards sustainable and reliable multi-modal transport in the Randstad’ (SRMT) consists of 5 PhD projects at 4 Dutch universities. The upcoming description is taken from the NWO website: first a general description is given of the entire project. Second, a more detailed description is given of the project I am working on: ‘Robust Multimodal Multi-objective network design’.

Strategy towards sustainable and reliable multi-modal transport in the Randstad’ (SRMT). This programme will develop comprehensive strategies for the Randstad based on integrated scientific approaches for land-use, location choices, multimodal transport network design, travel behaviour and transport policy. These enable the estimation and evaluation of performance and impact of different transition paths to more sustainable mobility and improved accessibility. Innovative models will describe the propensity to travel by (a combination of) environmentally friendly transport modes as walking, cycling, bus, tram, metro, light and heavy railway as function of accessibility, quality of transport service, attractiveness, cost and purpose of travel. This program provides an integrated approach for transport, land use and transition processes based on a balanced modelling of unimodal and multimodal trips including intermodal feedback from capacity constraints.
The models to be developed will allow assessing the effects of

  • increased density of housing, business, education, public services around public transport stops and railway stations
  • higher speed, frequency, punctuality, reliability and comfort of bus, tram and railway services,
  • transport infrastructure extensions and capacity management on transport demand, modal share, network traffic flows, capacity use and environment.

The focus of modelling will be put on a consistent estimation and validation of accessibility and transfer resistances within multimodal transport chains. The developed integrated land-use, multimodal transport and traffic models will be applied to the Randstad area to test and assess the impact of a number of transport policy and network development options for 2040 on accessibility, sustainability, robustness and modal split.

The central research question is in this project is ‘What is a long-term and short-term robust transport system for the Randstad that performs well, given multiple sustainability objectives such as accessibility, energy use, safety and air quality.’ We will address this question using a two-step approach. First step is a multi-objective optimization (accessibility, safety and environmental impact) using a bi-level optimization approach for number of spatio-economic options that were developed in projects 1 and 2.  Second step in our research approach deals with short and long term robustness of the multi-modal transport system. This project will then provide for different futures multi-modal networks that meet the sustainability objectives. By studying the robustness of the solutions, we will also be able to define a multi-modal network that is best suited to meet the challenges for an uncertain future. Finally, this study also provides insight in the way the different objectives are in line or rather opposite, and how different network solutions behave under different external conditions.