- Works at
- Delft University of Technology
A short interview with...
Scientific challenges for KiM
I believe the most important challenge is to gain a better understanding of mobility. In a society like ours, in which people have great amounts of freedom and the government relatively few tools for controlling behaviour (for example, departure time choices) or technological developments (for example, self-driving cars), it is crucial to understand the travellers’ choices and preferences. Good transportation policy is impossible without a comprehensive understanding of mobility behaviour.
More specifically, behavioural knowledge must be applied to a much greater degree in (large scale) quantitative model applications: there is often a stark contrast between the subtle behavioural effects being discussed in qualitative studies, and the often simplistic assumptions that form the basis of mathematical traffic models. This must be improved, if we want to understand the effects that increasingly more sophisticated mobility policy has on large-scale transport patterns. And it can be improved. Research conducted at Delft University of Technology and other universities shows that behavioural insights can indeed go hand in hand with effective mathematical model applications.
Research to be proud of
Together with colleagues from home and abroad, including Sander Crane Burgh in particular, I have translated the concept of regret minimization in an operational mathematical model of choice behaviour. Meanwhile, this ‘regret model’ has become widely accepted as an alternative approach to explaining and predicting (mobility) choice behaviour. It has been applied in commonly used software packages, which has led to a rapid growth in often unexpected applications. Consequently, for instance, it is quite satisfying to be sitting in the audience during an international conference and hear a Danish anthropologist explain how she applies the regret model in order to study the behaviour of poachers in Tanzania.
Affinity with KiM core research themes
My contribution can particularly add value to the ‘Models and Data’ core research theme. The other core themes each have an approximately equal connection to my research.
Current position and core scientific research
I am a professor of 'Choice behaviour modelling’ at Delft University of Technology. The core of my research is integrating insights from behavioural science in mathematical choice models. The bulk of my research focuses on the mobility domain. Over the next few years, my colleagues and I want to contribute to (the modelling of) moral choice behaviour. This is of great relevance to (mobility) policy, because the relationship between government and citizens often has a strong moral dimension, such as, for example, whether or not to follow rules, to care or not to care about those less fortunate than us, and whether or not to contribute to the greater societal utility.
A better understanding of moral choice behaviour must lead to more effective and equitable (mobility) policy. Examples of this include traffic safety, such as the choice to speed through a residential area, or what are known as 'social routing' initiatives, whereby travellers are asked to adapt their route choices in order to facilitate improved performance by the transport network as a whole.
- Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis & Management (MSc. TU Delft 2002),
- Econometrics (first-year degree, Erasmus University Rotterdam 2001).
- Received PhD for research of the modelling of travel information in mobility choice behaviour, under the supervision of TU Delft and TU Eindhoven.