Passenger Transport Systems: networks, operations and behavioral models


Date(s) for this course will be announced approximately two months before the start of the semester.


10.00 – 16.00 h.



Dr. Oded Cats (TU Delft) & Dr. Marie Schmidt (EUR)




1 (participating only) – 4 (participating + passing the assignment)

Course fee

free for TRAIL/Beta/OML members, others please contact the TRAIL office


see below


After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Conceptualize research problems from the area of passenger transportation along the dimensions strategic – tactical – real-time and network – operations – behavior;
  • Devise and discuss basic principles of different methodological approaches to solving passenger transport related problems, such as graph representation, optimization, heuristics, and simulation;
  • Motivate their modelling choices, position them in relation to alternative approaches and examine their suitability and shortcomings;
  • Develop a research proposal addressing a scientific research problem in the domain of passenger transport systems, incorporating concepts and methods pertaining to networks, operations and behavior.

Course description

Passenger transport systems are complex systems that undergo significant service, technological, and organizational transformations. This course provides a synthesis of the public transport planning process – from strategic through tactical and operational planning to real-time management and related methodological concepts. The course is organized into three modules: Networks, Operations and Behavior where relevant scientific and practical problems, their key properties and approaches to their solutions are examined using references to students own research and illuminating case studies. Developments in integrating these problems and approaches will be discussed and practiced in relation to a variety of uni- and multi-modal systems, including shared mobility and on-demand services.


During the course of the course, students will work on their final assignments in groups of 2-3 students. Each group will work on a research problem based on a pre-defined list of potential topics or related to their PhD project, subject to an approval by course leaders. Students will develop a conceptual framework, formulate their problem using a selected approach, discuss their modelling choices and their limitations and provide a proof of concept or small-scale demonstration.


= preliminary =

Day 1: Course intro + Key concepts and Taxonomy of problems and methods (Oded, 2hr) + Networks design (Marie, 2hr) + Network analysis (Oded, 1hr)

Day 2: Offline operations (Marie, 2hr) + Online operations (Marie, 1hr) + PhD projects (Oded + Marie, 2hr)

Day 3: Behavior (Oded, 2hr) + Workshop format (students start to work on concept research proposals, Oded + Marie, 3hr)

Day 4: Integrated planning (Marie/Oded, 2hr) + Student presentations of concept research proposal / course assignment (Oded + Marie + Expert Panel, 3hr)



Course material

Relevant review papers:

Desaulniers G. and Hickman M.D. (2007). Chapter 2 Public Transit. Handbooks in Operations Research and Management Science, Vol. 14, pp. 69-127.

Ibarra-Rojas O.J., Delgado F., Giesen R. And Munoz J.C. (2015). Planning, operation, and control of bus transport systems” A literature review. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Vol. 77, pp. 38-75.

Additional reading material will be provided in relation to each lecture/module.


Pre-registration form

Member of research school: