• Alexandre

1-year postdoctoral opening: Physics-based approaches to urban traffic & mobility (CLOSED)

Updated: Jul 31

ID 2564568 © John Leaver | Dreamstime.com
ID 2564568 © John Leaver | Dreamstime.com

Human mobility is a major challenge of the 21st century : As urbanisation and travel demand keep growing, the issues of congestion, overcrowding, and environmental damage that they raise call for efficient remedial policies. Reliable models for human mobility are therefore much needed.

The postdoctoral project will further our exploration of novel approaches, inspired from Statistical and Condensed Matter Physics, to derive the (statistical) laws that govern urban car traffic and pedestrian mobility. The project comes in the wake of recent successful endeavours in our group, which have demonstrated the potential of a physical framework for mobility problems, notably to understand:

- the parking search time [1-2]

- pedestrian dynamics in dense crowds [3-4].

For this specific postdoctoral position, the focus will be put on the vulnerability of the system to small perturbations at the local scale, but the postdoc will have the opportunity to collaborate on other facets of the problem. The work will be largely theoretical and numerical, but will also involve the collection and analysis of empirical traffic data in Lyon.

Applicants are expected to have

- a PhD ideally in Statistical Physics or Condensed Matter Physics (applicants with a PhD in Applied Mathematics, Computer Science Traffic Engineering may be considered)

- a strong theoretical background, but also a willingness to collect and analyse empirical data.

- a firm inclination for exploratory research on interdisciplinary issues.

(Previous experience with traffic-related problems would be an asset, but is definitely not a must.)

This postdoc is funded by the Institute of Physics of CNRS. The postdoc will ideally start in September/October 2022.

Net salary : depending on experience (around 2,300 – 2,400 € / month)

Applications – including a CV with a publication list and the contact details of 3 references – should be emailed to (informal inquiries are welcome!):


[1] Dutta, N., & Nicolas, A. (2021, November). Searching for Parking in a Busy Downtown District: An Agent-based Computational and Analytical Model. In 2021 International Symposium on Computer Science and Intelligent Controls (ISCSIC) (pp. 348-354). IEEE.

[2] Dutta, N., Charlottin, T., & Nicolas, A. (2022). Parking search in the physical world: Calculating the search time by leveraging physical and graph theoretical methods. arXiv preprint arXiv:2202.00258.

[3] Nicolas, A. (2020). Dense pedestrian crowds versus granular packings: An analogy of sorts. In Traffic and Granular Flow 2019 (pp. 411-419). Springer, Cham.

[4] Nicolas, A., Kuperman, M., Ibañez, S., Bouzat, S., & Appert-Rolland, C. (2019). Mechanical response of dense pedestrian crowds to the crossing of intruders. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-10.