PhD Defense Evelien van der Hurk, 18 June 2015

On Thursday 18 June, 2015, Evelien successfully defended her PhD thesis Passengers, Information, and Disruptions at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Since April 1, 2015, she works as an assistant professor at DTU Transport, Technical University of Denmark. Below is a short movie made by RSM explaining one of the key findings of this research: that providing personalised route advice to passengers can greatly reduce inconvenience caused by major disruptions in public transport networks, and therefore providing this advise should be a central part of any operator’s disruption management strategy.


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Progress 2013-2014

Much has happened the past year. Let us give you an update:

In the fall of 2013 Evelien went on research visit to Nigel Wilson and Haris Koutsopoulos at the Transit lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There she studied disruption management in the context of the local railway of the MBTA, Boston – and even presented her work at Transport for London. This lead to the paper Shuttle Planning for Link Closures in Urban Public Transport Networks, which has been submitted to Transportation Science. More about the latest developments in the Disruption Management project can be read here.

Three conferences were visited:

  • OR 2013, Rotterdam Paul presented his work on Capacity, Crowding and Passenger Information (The El Farol Train Game).
  • 16th International IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems
    Paul presented work on how to advise passengers in case of a disruption: should they reroute? Or wait for the disruption to pass? The question concerns the best strategy for the passenger assuming the length of the disruption is unknown, and given no capacity limits.
    Peter Vervest presented the research on ‘Passenger route choice deduction from smart card data’. The paper was nominated for the “Best paper award”, and later invited and href=”″>accepted for publication in a special issue of IEEE Transactions on ITS.

Finally, we are happy to announce the call for extended abstracts of the Conference on Advanced Systems in Public Transport (CASPT), which will be held in Rotterdam, July 2015. Submission is open until November 30!

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NS Complexity Progress Day – May 28th, 2013

After doing a lot of research during the last year, we organized a meeting to communicate our progress to interested employees of Dutch Railways (NS). A lot of people showed up and we wish to thank all of them again for their interest! We enjoyed the afternoon very much and had great discussions with many of the participants.

Check out the presentations at our Event Page!

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CASPT and ATT papers, MATSim workshop

We have been rather busy recently! Evelien is preparing her presentation that she will give at the Conference on Advanced Systems for Public Transport (CASPT), where she will present the paper “Dynamic Forecast Model of Time Dependent Passenger Flows for Disruption Management“. In this paper, an algorithm which aggregates passenger flows based on their location while taking the location of the disruption in account, is presented. Applying this algorithm to smart card data, short term forecasts of passenger flows are generated. Knowledge on passenger flows enables disruption management to focus on passenger service level and hence leads to improving this service level.

Paul visited the MATSim tutorial and user meeting in Berlin, where he learned more about the MATSim software. Additionally, a number of interesting applications were presented. Furthermore, he has been busy working on the paper he will present at the Workshop on Agents in Traffic and Transportation, held at AAMAS 2012 on June 5th, in Valencia, Spain. The paper is called “Recognizing Demand Patterns from Smart Card Data for Agent-Based Micro-simulation of Public Transport” and discusses how we can derive an agent-population from smart card data, focusing on temporal preferences of the agents.

Finally, we added a video of the poster pitch presentation, given by Leo Kroon at the KNAW day on ‘Understanding and managing complex systems’ to the new video section of our site.

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NWO Complexity winterschool and KNAW “Understanding and managing complex systems” – Great success

From 19 to 23 december 2012 NWO organized a winterschool for all its Complexity-project participants. During this week PhD students with different backgrounds, from biology to psychology to physics, were introduced to the theory of complexity.

Main lecturers Dan Braha and Hiroki Sayama spoke about complex networks, agent based modeling, game theory and non linear dynamics among many other topics. Presentations focused on the application of complexity theory were given by Kees Stam, Rob de Boer and Peter Nijkamp, among others.

As part of the NWO winterschool participants in groups of three specifically chosen for their diverse background wrote a short paper on a complexity topic of their choice. As reviews came in, many papers were a promising start for a paper that has a good chance of being publishes.

The group of Paul, Sanja and Marco wrote a paper on modularity and innovation. They find by simulating a random and a lattice network for decision interaction that the effectiveness of modularity in the decision making of firms strongly depends on the way the decisions interact. By studying multiple different networks through simulation, they showed that modularity is beneficial if the decisions interact with the structure of a lattice network, while this is not the case for random networks.

Wouter, Jos and Evelien focused on the effect of limited information on forecasting of market prices. They introduced a network structure that determined the communication between virtual participants to a heterogeneous forecasting model. Studying different network topologies they find that the average degree of a network influences the ability for the best forecasting strategy to spread through the network. Their paper can be found here.

The winning paper, on the effect of limited information on the topology of a network, presented their results at the KNAW day on ‘Understanding and managing complex systems’. Moreover, it was a great opportunity for participants to meet again and be reminded of all the great topics that are around in complexity research. You can watch the poster pitch presentation as given by Leo Kroon on Vimeo.

Link to the winterschool webpage
Link to the KNAW-day webpage

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Official Launch of the ComPuTr Website!

Today, we officially launched the ComPuTr website. We can hardly wait for the moment Google’s search results for ‘complexity in public transport’ will include For now, Google will just present you with the announcement of our kick-off day. A pity, because has all information about this day available for you here – including presentations, reports and pictures.

We hope you will become a regular visitor of You can keep track of our latest news through your favorite channel from the sidebar. Please feel free to browse the content of the website to learn more about the Complexity in Public Transport project.

Thank you for your visit!

Paul and Evelien

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