Two Postdoc Positions on Railway Timetabling and Traffic Management

Two Postdoc Positions on Railway Timetabling and Traffic Management

Published Deadline Location
8 Aug 30 Sep Delft

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Job description

Improved railway traffic planning and management is key to increasing performance and efficiency of railway transport, and meeting the European ambitious target to make rail the preferred mode of transport in the future. Several positions are open at the Digital Rail Traffic Lab within the Europe's Rail project MOTIONAL, concerning the development of an aligned railway timetable planning and traffic management process.

Postdoc position on Large-Scale Railway Timetable Optimization

A railway timetable is the backbone of railway operations as it coordinates all train paths over the railway network considering infrastructure limitations. Moreover, the timetable determines largely both the passenger service quality in terms of (generalized) travel time over all origin-destination pairs, as well as the cost efficiency in terms of the required rolling stock needed to operate the timetable. In this project, you will develop a periodic timetable optimization model and algorithmic approach to compute arrival and departure times satisfying track capacity constraints while optimizing service quality and operator costs. The goal is to be able to compute high-quality solutions for large-scale instances, such as the Dutch national railway network. No practically usable algorithm exists to compute a (macroscopically) feasible timetable for such large problems. Therefore, you will explore new decomposition and heuristic algorithms to keep the problem computionally tractable.

This postdoc project will be executed in collaboration with Netherlands Railways (NS).

Postdoc position on Railway Traffic Management for Automatic Train Operation

Automatic Train Operation (ATO) is expected to increase capacity, punctuality and energy savings by regulating the train speeds according to the timetable. However, ATO performance depends on the interaction with a traffic management system (TMS) that keeps an up-to-date timetable. In this project, you will develop algorithms for a seamless interaction between the TMS and ATO with the aim to optimally guide the train operations considering multiple objectives of capacity, punctuality and energy consumption. In particular, you will develop online algorithms to maintain a dynamic timetable that optimizes track capacity allocation at a network level, while offering sufficient flexibility to the trains to stimulate energy-efficient driving and adhere to time targets or bounds at critical timing points. These time bounds can also be computed dynamically and shifted between trains based on the dynamic timetable and expected arrival/passing time updates received from the trains. You will test the closed-loop performance of the TMS-ATO algorithms in a simulation environment and optimize their interaction in both normal and disturbed conditions.

This postdoc project will be executed in collaboration with ProRail.

As part of the activities you will contribute to project deliverables and project meetings. For more info about the Digital Rail Traffic Lab, see


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You are a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher (F/M) with the ambition to conduct high-quality research. You are highly innovative and enjoy team work. You are reliable, independent, and organized in meeting deliverable deadlines. You have excellent communication and collaboration skills. In addition,

  • You have a PhD degree in Computer science, Operations Research, Control, Transport Engineering or a related field (with a strong background in optimization and mathematical modelling).
  • You have strong skills in programming and optimization software.
  • You are familiar with the area of railway operations research.
  • You have a passion for scientific research in close cooperation with practice.
  • You have an excellent command of English.
  • Mastering the Dutch language is an advantage, but not necessary.

Conditions of employment

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. For salary scales from 1 August 2023, click here. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


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 Civil Engineering and Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & 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. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science 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.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.


  • Postdoc
  • Engineering
  • €2960—€4670 per month
  • Doctorate
  • TUD04279


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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