Postdoctoral researcher in management and control of dynamic capacity in shared mobility networks

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

Despite the excellent quality of public transport systems in Switzerland, public transport and shared mobility systems need to increase their performance and attract more travellers, to match the ambitious targets from policy and environmental goals. One key aspect of traditional public transport systems is their rigidity, as they are based on predetermined routes, lines and times.

On the other hand, even ignoring unplanned disturbances, demand patterns are dynamic within the day, across days, and over years. Moreover, public transport services are bound to operate given vehicle fleets, which leads to a further mismatch between variable demand and fixed/rigid vehicle size.

This position will be available, with an ideal starting date between February 2023 and April 2023, or further upon agreement; the planned duration of the initial contract is one year, to be extended based on successful performance, for up to 2 years.

Job description

The focus of this project is to understand how to design and operate a mobility network with a large range of possible vehicles (large, medium, in theory even individual), and service design (on-demand responsive, planned, planned and real-time adaptations). The objective is that the vehicle capacity meets the demand (crowding /denied boarding is minimal), waste capacity is minimized, and the performance is the highest (travel time, waiting time, energy, cost). This broad topic includes approaches for optimization, control and simulation for scheduled and on-demand services.

This project takes place within the NCCR automation, which aims to determine control techniques (among others) to improve mobility. We envisage tackling those challenges with a new approach including relaxing some of the constraints that are now considered in conventional public transport services.

This research focus will work in close interaction with another researcher at a doctoral level within NCCR, and multiple doctoral and post-doctoral researchers working on complementary topics on public transport systems analytics and optimization. Even if the appointment is at ETH Zürich, a collaboration with EPFL is envisaged. Namely, close interaction and possible research stays are expected with the Urban Transport Systems Laboratory of EPFL Lausanne (Prof Geroliminis). Finally, we expect regular interaction with the entire community of researchers at NCCR, research groups at public transport companies in Switzerland and elsewhere, and relevant research groups at the international level.

Your profile

You ideally have (or you are about to receive) a Doctoral Degree in transport sciences, management/ decision sciences, econometrics, statistics, computer science, physics or related fields. Your research track is consistent and shows a track record, or clear potential, for modelling and control of transport systems. You are highly motivated, self-driven, with a clear research vision and academic ambition, you have excellent communication and writing skills (fluent spoken and written English is mandatory). Moreover, the following skills are expected of a promising candidate:

  • Computer science and ability to program independently complex software
  • Ability to model and represent transport services and transport demand in forms appropriate to the time and space resolution considered (time-event graph, diachronic graphs, PESP; passenger assignment, agent-based simulation)
  • Knowledge of mathematical optimization (MILP, IP, LP), and/or control sciences
  • Team working and communication skills
  • Knowledge of German or similar languages is not required but is a plus

You enjoy working in an interactive international environment with doctoral students, post-docs and senior scientists, referring continuously to practical problems and solutions. 

Your workplace

Your workplace




We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application by 08.01.2023.

The selection will be based on a multi-step application process. Firstly, applications (a motivation letter describing how the past experience and motivation fits the profile sketched in this call, plus a CV with a list of publications, diploma and PhD copies, and 2 reference letters) will have to be submitted.
We explicitly encourage female candidates to apply. After a first selection, potential candidates will be contacted for a final selection, which will be based on the candidates’ qualifications as well as on a personal interview with the supervisors.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information about the institute and the group please visit our website www.ivt.ethz.ch. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr. Francesco Corman by email francesco.corman@ivt.baug.ethz.ch (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application by 08.01.2023.

The selection will be based on a multi-step application process. Firstly, applications (a motivation letter describing how the past experience and motivation fits the profile sketched in this call, plus a CV with a list of publications, diploma and PhD copies, and 2 reference letters) will have to be submitted.
We explicitly encourage female candidates to apply. After a first selection, potential candidates will be contacted for a final selection, which will be based on the candidates’ qualifications as well as on a personal interview with the supervisors.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information about the institute and the group please visit our website www.ivt.ethz.ch. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr. Francesco Corman by email francesco.corman@ivt.baug.ethz.ch (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.