AMS ERC Advanced Grant for unravelling pedestrian and cyclist flows in cities

AMS Principal investigator and TU Delft’s Prof. Serge Hoogendoorn has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for five-year research into traffic theory for pedestrians and cyclists. The Advanced Grant is a grant for up to 2.5 million euros from the European Research Council for excellent, established researchers carrying out innovative and ground-breaking research.

In recent years, we have seen that cities are becoming increasingly busy, yet the space available has not increased to any significant extent. Besides this, in cities such as Amsterdam, the proportion of ‘slow traffic’ is steadily growing. Although there are many reasons to welcome this trend, the increase in pedestrian and cyclist flows is also a cause for concern as it gives rise to such problems as crowded shopping streets and stations, large crowds at special events, congested cycle paths, abandoned bikes, and traffic safety problems at places where fast and slow traffic come together.

More understanding of ‘slow traffic’ needed
Tackling these problems is hindered by the lack of empirical insight and behavioural theories, as well as models and tools to support planning, design and management. There are also countless knowledge needs related to our understanding of pedestrian and cyclist behaviour which form a major challenge within modern traffic theory. The behaviour of slow traffic is shown to be far more complex than that of fast traffic.

Hoogendoorn’s research programme is focused on developing a theory for slow mode traffic behaviour and observing the various behaviour levels relevant to understanding, reproducing and predicting pedestrian and cyclist flows in cities. He expects to see significant scientific breakthroughs through the use of innovative big data collection and analysis, virtual and augmented reality, social media analytics, remote sensing and crowd sourcing. These can be used to create new solutions for a safe, accessible, liveable and competitive city.

AMS Institute
The research will, in part, be conducted under the banner of the AMS institute, where Hoogendoorn is Principal Investigator. The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions is a new ambitious scientific institute where scientists, researchers, government, industry and social organisations work closely together to create solutions for the complex challenges faced by metropolitan regions such as Amsterdam.

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