Multi-modal travel in shared spaces – improving cooperation, safety, and traveller confidence

Supervised by Dr Dilum Dissanayake and Dr Lei Zhang together with Transport for West Midlands 

To apply for this project, please include 'Dissanayake & Transport for West Midlands’ as the project descriptor in the subject heading of your email.


Increasingly, people use different personal travel modes (e.g., driving; walking; wheeling; cycling; e-scooting) on shared roads, pathways, and pavements. This can generate antipathy between travellers (especially between those using different travel modes) and increase accident rates and risk perceptions. This, in turn, can reduce confidence in some modes, thereby impacting on individuals’ travelling choices, wellbeing, and overall transport emissions. For example, people that perceived car drivers as antagonistic towards cyclists would be likely to cycle less often and could be deterred from cycling at all. 


This unique 4-year fully funded PhD studentship opportunity is co-designed by the University of Birmingham and its non-academic partners, with the support of TfWM’s Future Transport Behaviour Change Lead and the Influencing Transport Lab (ITL). The project will also supported by Birmingham City Council advising us on suitable case studies. 


The successful candidate will be supervised by an experienced and interdisciplinary supervisory team from two schools at the University of Birmingham (School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and School of Psychology) and behavioural change team from TfWM. With the support of their supervisors, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to design the project in line with their own interests, skills, and experience. The successful candidate will also be expected to undertake a 6-month research placement within the Future Transport Innovation team at TfWM. 


We are looking for a highly talented and dedicated PhD student with a 1st class or 2:1 degree in the field of psychology, social science, sociology, anthropology, behavioural economics, human geography, transport studies or closely related fields. A master’s degree in a relevant area is desirable though not necessary. A significant proportion of an undergraduate degree or master’s degree must have focussed on social research methods. Experience of applying qualitative and quantitative research methods would be a distinct advantage. 


Informal enquiries prior to application can be directed to Dr Dilum Dissanayake (, and Dr Lei Zhang (