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Position Details

Academic Personnel

Postdoctoral Scholar in Transportation Systems Science

Position Overview

School / Campus / College: College of Engineering

Organization: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Title: Postdoctoral Scholar in Transportation Systems Science

Position Details

Position Description

The THINK lab in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington is looking for an enthusiastic, self-motivated Postdoctoral Scholar researcher with demonstrated capability and interest in conducting big data and mobility analysis and/or infrastructure systems analysis. Though it is desirable that the candidate has the skills and interest in conducting both kinds of analyses, applications from those with an interest in primarily one of them are also welcome.

Research in big data/mobility analysis seeks to answer questions such as: 1) how biases and uncertainties in big data affect the derived mobility and accessibility metrics that are often used for making transportation related decisions? 2) how do travelers respond to personalized rewards? 3) how to design transit related systems that can adapt to a range of external conditions?

Research in infrastructure systems analysis seeks to answer questions such as: 1) where does adaptability exist in different urban systems (e.g., land use, food systems, human behaviors and transit related systems? 2) when multiple systems of different scales are coupled together, how does that promote or hinder adaptability? And 3) how to leverage community assets to promote resilience and adaptability at the local scale? Applicants should have demonstrated capabilities and programming skills that are needed to answer the whole or a subset of the above questions. 

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Cynthia Chen ( to discuss their interests in this position prior to the application deadline. This research position is offered for 1 year (12-months) and renewable pending funding availability. The ideal start date is early or mid January 2022. The postdoc will be hosted in the UW Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will interact primarily with members in THINK lab. The postdoc is also expected to interact with a large number of collaborators and stakeholders that THINK lab works with on a number of projects. The immediate supervisor is Professor Cynthia Chen.

Postdoctoral scholars at UW are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to a collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website:


Desired Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, industrial systems and engineering, or a closely related field;
  • Knowledge of at least one of the following: travel behavior and mobility analysis, network analysis with applications in infrastructure systems, and/or stochastic optimization with real-world applications; 3) strong programming skills (MATLAB, Python, R, or others);
  • Solid background in probability and statistics and/or optimization;
  • Publications in relevant top-tier journals and conference proceedings;
  • Strong communication, presentation and documentation skills; and
  • Ambition to become a leader in the relevant fields (e.g., professor or senior research positions in a company or national lab). In addition to conducting actual research, the postdoc is also expected to develop open-source reproducible codes and software tools that can be shared with an entire community of researchers and practitioners in relevant fields.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Participate/lead stakeholder engagement efforts;
  • Help supervise and work with graduate students in the lab;
  • Participate/lead activities that streamline and promote the work of the lab (e.g., presentations, website updates/maintenance).

Big data/mobility analysis:

  • Analyze and process large datasets to derive mobility patterns and calculate mobility and accessibility metrics;
  • Develop models that capture the underlying data generation process of the observed data;
  • Develop models and processes that support a community of researchers to co-analyze the biases and the uncertainties that big data has on mobility and accessibility metrics;
  • Analyze and process unstructured data from transit apps to evaluate the impacts of rewards on people’s travel choices and identify gaps and opportunities for promoting sustainable travels;
  • Develop and Integrate existing Python/R code into Python/R modules and packages for distribution and publication of software packages for mobility analysis.

Infrastructure systems analysis:

  • Develop and conduct quantitative surveys and interviews to capture how people and urban systems adapt under different circumstances;
  • Develop quantitative models (e.g., graph-based and/or optimization models) that model the adaptability of a system;
  • Analyze the behaviors of multiple systems of different scales when they are coupled together;
  • Design simulations with or without real-world data to test/validate theories/models.


To apply, applicants should upload the following application materials to Interfolio. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 

  1. A complete CV
  2. Up-to-date university transcripts
  3. A short statement (1 page) describing research interests and goals
  4. Names and contacts of 3 references
  5. A link to your website (if available)
  6. Diversity Statement (1 page) describing your contributions to and vision for promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. 
  7. Sexual Misconduct form: State law requires that the University of Washington obtain the Disclosure of Sexual Misconduct declaration signed by the candidate. The declaration will require you to disclose any substantiated findings of sexual misconduct, to authorize current and past employers to disclose to the UW any sexual misconduct currently being investigated and/or committed by you, and to release current and past employers from any liability.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Commitment to Diversity

The University of Washington is committed to building diversity among its faculty, librarian, staff, and student communities, and articulates that commitment in the UW Diversity Blueprint ( Additionally, the University’s Faculty Code recognizes faculty efforts in research, teaching and/or service that address diversity and equal opportunity as important contributions to a faculty member’s academic profile and responsibilities (

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements and Information

Under Washington State Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.1, University of Washington (UW) workers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof thereof, or receive a UW-approved medical or religious exemption. This requirement will be a condition of any offer associated with this recruitment. For more information, please visit

Apply now

The University of Washington is using Interfolio's Faculty Search to conduct this search. Applicants to this position receive a free Dossier account and can send all application materials, including confidential letters of recommendation, free of charge.

For help signing up, accessing your account, or submitting your application, please check out Interfolio's help and support section or get in touch via email at or phone at (877)997-8807.

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