PhD Position Time-Use Trends and Travel Behaviour

PhD Position Time-Use Trends and Travel Behaviour

Published Deadline Location
12 Oct 12 Nov Delft

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Working from home, watching a movie during travel, robot vacuuming at night, staying online on your smartphone – how do these time-use trends impact our daily routines and the associated travel behaviour? We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate to study these impacts during a four-year PhD project.

Job description

Time-use behaviour has dramatically changed over the years. Major changes have been brought by continuous development in the information and communication technologies, ability to perform more activities during travel (e.g., in public transport) and the recent revolutions in time-use during the COVID-19 pandemic. These trends are associated with new time-planning styles, such as increasing schedule flexibility, multitasking and activity fragmentation. For example, the ability to shop online results in time flexibility; work from home is often associated with overlapping and more fragmented activities.

While these time-use trends have been explored in the sociology literature, they are not yet well embedded in the (quantitative) economic and transport literature. This omission means that there are many open questions, such as

  • How does our travel behaviour change in conjunction with the developments in time use and how does it impact transport systems?
  • How does our decision making style (e.g., optimising versus satisficing approach to decisions) change in response to these time-use trends and how to model it?
  • What do these trends mean for our subjective and collective well-being, while considering that individuals may have multiple competing goals in daily time use?

Research into these questions is expected to provide crucial insights for policy. In a world of increasing flexibility, what is the economic value of policies that facilitate these emerging time-use trends? Should the policy makers and employers encourage flexible work hours, provisions for work from home or work from the vehicle? What is the societal value of transport and non-transport technologies, such as automated vehicles, on-demand transport, smartphones and smart household appliances, that support these time-use trends?

In this PhD project, and depending on your profile and preferences, you will have the opportunity to investigate questions such as the above (or others that will yet be formulated!), and do so from multiple angles – theoretical and empirical, qualitative (e.g., based on focus groups) and quantitative (e.g., based on discrete choice experiments). This project is therefore an opportunity to develop yourself as a well-rounded interdisciplinary scholar. In this journey, you will be guided by Dr. Baiba Pudāne and Dr. Maarten Kroesen.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


For this position, we are looking for a candidate with excellent conceptual and analytical skills, whose ambition is to conduct high-quality original research. You should hold a MSc degree in transport, economics, sociology, decision science or related field. Familiarity with discrete choice theory and/or behavioural economics is desirable. Knowledge of time-use models and/or sociological time-use literature is a plus, but not a requirement.

We are looking for an independent and creative thinker who is also a team player. Good communication and writing skills in English are essential.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Technology, Policy and Management

With its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy, the Faculty of TPM makes an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security. We combine insights from the engineering sciences, the social and the humanities. We develop robust models and designs, are internationally oriented and have an extensive network with knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02878


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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