Re-designing roads for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Saturday, August 31, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Dr Ioannis Kaparias

Project description

The road transport sector has undergone radical transformation over the last few decades and is expected to continue doing so due to technological developments. Ubiquitous connectivity, alternative fuels and partial vehicle automation are now very much a reality, with further advances, such as fully connected and autonomous vehicles, expected to become commonplace in the near future. 

Nevertheless, even though the nature and characteristics of traffic in urban, inter-urban and rural environments have changed, highway design practices are still based on the same conventional principles that were developed in the mid-20th Century. There is a need to revise these (likely sub-optimal) established practices in order to devise highway geometries addressing the new transport reality.

The aim of this PhD project is to investigate the influence that varying degrees of vehicle automation could have on optimising highway design features in terms of various criteria, such as traffic efficiency, safety and environmental sustainability. Tasks will include: evaluating highway design standards from the UK and other countries; calibrating and executing microscopic models of traffic flows with varying compositions of partially and fully autonomous vehicles; developing a method for measuring the degree to which existing highway design standards address different scenarios and contexts of vehicle automation; and applying optimisation techniques to a set of specific case studies in order to come up with more efficient highway designs. 

The successful candidate should have a solid background in engineering or another quantitative discipline, as evidenced by a good first degree and any other additional qualifications, as well as a lively interest in transport applications.

This is a unique opportunity to join the university’s prestigious Transportation Research Group (TRG) in the School of Engineering. The TRG is based at the university’s Boldrewood Innovation Campus and is one of the UK’s longest running academic transport centres, with over 50 years of research into improving all aspects of transport and mobility systems. It consists of 29 staff and 34 PhD researchers, and has a portfolio of over £8 million in grants and contracts, as well as a wide range of facilities supporting its research, such as a driving simulator, a fully instrumented vehicle and bicycle, and a 360-degree virtual reality facility.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Ioannis Kaparias. Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 23 8059 9577.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: 31 August 2024.

Funding: Funding for tuition fees and a living stipend are available on a competitive basis. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, so apply early for the best opportunity to be considered.

How To Apply

Apply online: Search for a Postgraduate Programme of Study (soton.ac.uk). Select programme type (Research), 2024/25, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Ioannis Kaparias

Applications should include:

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts/Certificates to date

For further information please contact:


Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Engineering (12) Mathematics (25)

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