Evaluating small-scale rail investment decisions in relation to passenger satisfaction
Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the EPSRC and Govia Thameslink Railway to start in April 2016. The student will be based in the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University.
The research context
Rail passenger demand has doubled in the two decades since privatization in 1994 and in 2014 to 1.6 billion a year. Over the same period however, costs too have almost doubled to £5.2 billion – and this in a time of unprecedented pressure on public spending – whilst levels of passenger satisfaction as monitored by Passenger Focus have steadily declined from 85% in 2010 to 80% in 2015. There is a need for train operators and the rail industry in general to more cleverly target limited (and likely diminishing) resources on modes of investment (on both operational and capital expenditure) that deliver results that are of most benefit.
Hence, the aim of this PhD will be to evaluate smaller-scale rail investment decisions in relation to current and future passenger satisfaction.
The proposed project
Accordingly, the student will develop a modelling suite which will draw on investment schemes being undertaken under the GTR Train Operating Company franchise – the largest in the UK. Methodologically, the project will combine rail passenger trip data with supply-related data and passenger satisfaction information to develop a series of scenario models using advanced statistical models, which will seek to determine which investment types deliver the best passenger satisfaction-related outcomes. These models will then be implemented and validated, and then inputted into an impact inventory to evaluate the scenarios against a series of passenger satisfaction indicators, in addition to other transport, social, economic and environmental indicators, at both the service operator and the societal level.
The studentship is open to graduates from numerate disciplines including Civil Engineering, Geography, Statistics and Systems Engineering who are interested in statistical modelling, data mining and cluster analysis. The minimum entry qualification is a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: transport engineering, transport planning and management, transport systems modelling. Please add a 2-page outline proposal to your application.
General information about the School of Civil and Building Engineering can be found at: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/civil-building/.
For informal enquiries about the project, please contact Dr Marcus Enoch, School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU. Tel: 01509 223408; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To apply, please complete the online application using the following link: https://lucas.lboro.ac.uk/web_apx/f?p=100:1
The closing date for applications is Monday 1 February 2016
Interviews will take place week commencing 22 February 2016
Please quote the following reference when applying: 2016CASECBE/ME
The studentship is for 3.5 years and is intended to start on 1 April 2016. The studentship provides a stipend of £14,057 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for up to 3.5 years. To be eligible for this award, you must meet the criteria set out by EPSRC. The successful student will jointly be supervised by Dr Marcus Enoch and Professor Mohammed Quddus of Loughborough University and Dr Stuart Meek of GTR.