PhD on Robust train trajectory optimization
Delft University of Technology, Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences

PhD on Robust train trajectory optimization


Department/faculty: Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences 

Level: University Graduate 

Working hours: 38.0 hours weekly 

Contract: 4 years 

Salary: 2325 - 2972 euros monthly (full-time basis)


Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences


The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology and delta technology. The research covers global social issues and is closely connected to education as well as the work of a wide range of knowledge institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to realise these goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

TU Delft is ranked in the top three in the Shanghai ranking on Transportation science & Technology for several years. The Department of Transport and Planning (T&P) has been awarded the maximum score for research quality and viability in the research visitations over the last 15 years. The faculty was ranked 4th place in the latest QS world university ranking. T&P (with about 120 members) has a strong track record in traffic flow theory, traffic simulation, dynamic traffic management and intelligent transport systems of all transport modes, including railway, pedestrians and urban public transport. A trademark of the department is the use of empirical data and advanced modelling tools. The Digital Rail Traffic Lab (DRTL) within T&P covers the planning and management of railway operations with the objective to develop methods, models and algorithms for efficient, reliable and sustainable digitalized railway transport systems.


Job description


This PhD project is part of a research collaboration between Delft University Technology and the Netherlands Railways (NS).

The growing railway transport demand requires new methods for on-time and energy-efficient train running to increase railway performance. In particular, train trajectory planning is becoming an essential component in the planning and control of trains. The train trajectory optimization problem aims at computing optimal speed trajectories as function of distance to achieve comfortable, energy-efficient and punctual train driving. Train trajectory optimization is used in Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) and Automatic Train Operation (ATO) for different Grades of Automation (GoA).

The main objective of this PhD position is to develop models and methods to compute robust train trajectories that optimize on-time running and energy efficiency in the presence of daily stochastic variations and uncertainty of input parameters. You will analyse train data, investigate the impact of parameter variations on the volatility of computed trajectories, and develop algorithms for real-time robust trajectory generation that can be used in a DAS and ATO, incorporating also dynamic information about preceding trains.

The duration of the PhD position will be for four years (48 months). As a PhD you will enrol in the CEG Graduate School ( and have as well the opportunity to join the TRAIL Research School ( Both platforms provide a stimulating research environment and ample support during your PhD.




We are looking for candidates with an MSc in railway transport, applied mathematics, and/or related fields, with a focus on (optimal) control or optimization, and an interest in railways. Excellent English level is required while mastering Dutch is an advantage .


Conditions of employment


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

The minimum salary is your salary in your first year. The salary mentioned as the maximum will be your salary in your fourth year.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.


Information and application


For information about this vacancy, you can contact Prof Dr Rob Goverde,


For information about this vacancy, you can contact Prof Dr Rob Goverde, To apply, please e-mail your letter of application with a detailed CV and an abstract of your MSc thesis (one-page, in English) in a single PDF file by September 30, exclusively to: Applications to other addresses will not be taken into account.

When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number CITG19.52

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Engineeroxy


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