Highways and Transportation

From materials, road usage and highway design through to sustainable transport (walking, cycling), railway engineering, energy efficiency and risk management, this research theme is broad and encompasses most transport systems. 

Civil Engineering Research - Highways and Transportation

Professor Miles TightProfessor Chris Baker, Professor Felix SchmidDr Harry Evdorides, Dr Michael Burrow, and Dr Andrew Quinn and Dr Sakdirat Kaewunruen are the key staff leading a large number of projects which are grouped into highway management and engineering; railway engineering; transport sustainability; and safety and reliability management.

Research activities in Highway Management and Engineering

This broad and wide-reaching topic influences global road development and management, and includes study not only of materials and engineering, but also touches on the social science and economics surrounding road transportation. Working for many years in close collaboration with organisations such as the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Department for International Development (DIFID), the International Road Federation, and the European Transport Research Council, the influences of this research group are felt world-wide.

Dr Michael Burrow leads this group, together with Dr Harry Evdorides and Professor Miles Tight. Their research in highway management and engineering informs the internationally-reputed MSc programme in Road Management & Engineering and a number of short courses and workshops, most notably the annual Senior Roads Executive Programme.

Research activities in Highway Management and Engineering

Recent and current major research activities cover such topics as: 

  • road economics; road pavement design and performance; 
  • highway condition monitoring and data collection; 
  • effects of climate change and disaster management; 
  • road maintenance management; 
  • traffic signal violations; energy management; 
  • road safety and accident modelling

Examples of research projects:

Research activities in Railway Engineering

Birmingham is host to the world-leading Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, a multi-disciplinary group of staff from the Schools of Civil Engineering, Electronic, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials & Metallurgy. 

This unique collaboration is led by Professors Chris Baker and Felix Schmid, together with Dr Andrew Quinn, and research with a particular focus in civil engineering include railway asset management, railway-specific environmental and geotechnical engineering, aerodynamics and risk management.

Railway engineering

Recent and current projects in railway engineering include:

Research activities in Transport Sustainability

Transport sustainability is about the safety, equity and sustainability of travel: transport systems and usage which promotes sustainable urban living. This theme involves projects, funded by UK research councils and the European Union amongst its many supporters, which investigate the nature of long term and large scale change in transport systems and the future design and form of sustainable urban areas. 


Under the leadership of Professor Miles Tight, recent and current major research activities include:

Research activities in Safety and Reliability Management

As in all engineering activity, safety and reliability are key to a successful project and on-going operation of the transport sector. This research theme includes study of risk and reliability transferred from the more-traditional construction industry into the transport sector. 

Projects include decision-making tools based on:

  • safety-cost analysis; 
  • life cycle analysis; 
  • uncertainty analysis; 
  • safety-critical software assessment; 
  • dynamic and static finite element analysis; 
  • safety case preparation for industry. 

Dr Michael Burrow and Dr Harry Evdorides' work includes much on safety and reliability, and recent projects have focussed specifically on road safety and railway risk-safety support systems, many in conjunction with i-RAP.

Example of research projects:

  • Urban road safety and sustainability in low and middle income countries (pdf)

Opportunities relevant to this theme

Commensurate with the wide-reaching, world-class activities of this research theme, good postgraduate research candidates are welcome to apply at any time. For general enquiries, please contact us (details below) or search on the Postgraduate Research Degrees web pages.

We also offer taught and combined taught/research postgraduate programmes related to transport engineering, including:

Enquiries to

For postgraduate research opportunities, please contact ther Postgraduate Support Team
Email: engineeringsupport-research@contacts.bham.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 4160 / +44 (0)121 414 4233

For postgraduate taught courses and MScs, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Team
Email: pg-admissions-eng@contacts.bham.ac.uk
Telephone:  +44 (0)121 414 5089

To discuss a new research project or to explore applying the group’s research to your business, please contact
Dr David Boardman, Knowledge Transfer Manager, Tel +44(0)121 414 5086, Email d.i.boardman@bham.ac.uk