Vacancies - University of Twente

Phd Candidate Road Safety for Cyclists in Dutch Cities

Job description

The Netherlands is well-known for cycling. All together the Dutch own over 22 million bicycles with a population of 17 million people. Almost a quarter of the Dutch population cycles every day. In the Netherlands, the use of the bicycle is increasing in many Dutch cities. Cycle paths have become noticeably busier with a stronger variety in the types of bicycles (such as cargo bike, pedal-assist electric bike, speed pedelec) and in cycling speeds. Large cities in the Netherlands are growing and becoming more densely populated. Cities such as Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague are planning large housing locations within the existing city. At the same time, the population in cities is ageing as in the rest of the country. The combination of these factors will result in an increase in cycling and car traffic in cities, and increase in bicycle use by elderly and increasing traffic safety issues. A cyclist is a vulnerable road user as it uses a two wheeler – a balance vehicle – without any impact protection. In recent years, the number of fatal and serious traffic accidents of cyclists have increased substantially and the trends described here are likely to increase traffic crashes for cyclists in cities.

The aim of this PhD project is to examine cyclist’s road safety in Dutch cities and possible improvements of road safety for cyclist in urban and transport planning.

The PhD research will involve:

  • Analysis of road traffic, cycling traffic flows and road safety data for a selection of Dutch cities, including Amsterdam. The analysis will comprise a combination of secondary and primary data sets. State-of-the-art data collection methods using as smartphone apps and GPS sensors will be explored;
  • Analysis of cyclist road safety and risk levels by type of vehicle, type of road and cycling facility, location and user characteristics.
  • Longitudinal (panel) analysis to establish causal links between life events such as moving house, ageing, perceived and objective traffic safety. The use of the Mobility Panel for the Netherlands, a large panel of Dutch households will be explored.
  • Case studies to examine the impact of major urban development projects on cyclist road safety in a number of cities, analysing linkages between urban and road design, generation of car and cycling trips, perceived and actual road safety. The case studies will be conducted in collaboration with local authorities.

Your profile

  • You are a MSc-level graduate in civil engineering, transport engineering and management, geography or geo-information science
  • You have an excellent command of English (C1; above IELTS 7 or equivalent) and a good command of Dutch (B2 to C1).
  • You have expertise and experience in empirical research (setting up and analyzing surveys)
  • You have experience in statistical analysis (including regression analysis), choice modelling and geospatial analysis (ArcGIS/QGIS).
  • You are able to do independent research and have publication skills.


This PhD project will be conducted at the Dutch Road Safety Institute (SWOV - Instituut voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Verkeersveiligheid) in the Hague. You will be employed by the SWOV as full time PhD researcher (36 hours per week). Your work location is The Hague.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the Twente Graduate School and the Netherlands Research School on Transport, Infrastructure and logistics (TRAIL).

Additional information about this position can be obtained from prof. dr. Karst T. Geurs (e-mail: ) or dr. Gert Jan Wijlhuizen (e-mail: ). You are also invited to visit the home page of the UT Center for Transport Studies ( and the SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research (

Please submit your application before 31 March 2019 (choose “apply now” below). Your application must include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 page A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, motivations to apply for this position and research ideas for the PhD project.
  • A full Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, references and, if applicable, a list of publications.
  • A short description (maximum 1 page A4) of your MSc research.

Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.

Our offer

  • A fulltime 4 year PhD-position at the Dutch Road Safety Institute (SWOV) 
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities;
  • You are offered a professional and personal development program within Graduate School Twente;
  • A starting salary of € 2.631,28 gross per month in the first year and a salary of € 3.130,07 in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 23 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET)
 is one of the five faculties of the University of Twente. ET combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

Phd Candidate Road Safety for Cyclists in Dutch Cities
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