Dr Marcelo Blumenfeld MIET

Dr Marcelo Blumenfeld

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Assistant Professor in Future Transport Systems

Contact details

School of Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Assistant Professor in Future Transport Systems, working with research and capacity building projects that look at the introduction of new technologies in transport systems to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in the Global South.

Internationally recognised expert, having acted as consultant to leading organisation such as the United Nations, the World Bank, GIZ, FCDO, and national governments of Thailand, Ethiopia and Brazil. Highly multidisciplinary scholar, with a research portfolio of more than £750,000 and over 10 years' experience in projects that involve operational optimisation, horizon scanning, systems engineering, and systems modelling.

A former TED speaker, with an MSc in Transport Planning and a PhD in Railway Systems Engineering. With a background in Industrial Design, has since published various articles on the future of sustainable mobility and radically innovative transport systems.


  • PhD in Railway Systems Engineering, University of Birmingham, 2019
  • MSc with Distinction in Transport Planning, University of Leeds, 2012
  • BA in Industrial Design, Fundacao Armando Alvares Penteado, 2010


  • Systems Engineering and Systems Thinking
  • Systems Engineering and Ergonomics

Postgraduate supervision

PhD scholarships may be available for high calibre candidates working in the area of transport systems engineering and implementation of new technologies.


Research interests

Marcelo’s research interests lie in the areas of: public transport operations; systems engineering; system modelling; capability approaches; foresight and backcasting; transport in the Global South;

Current projects

  • Developing regional strategy on accelerating rail digitalization in ESCAP region (2023)
  • Unlocking governance and policy opportunities for sustainable transport in East Africa (2023-2024)
  • Context appropriate curricula on logistics infrastructure systems for Sub-Saharan Africa (2022-2023)
  • New Normal: Post-COVID Behaviour of Railway Passengers in UK and China (2022-2023)
  • Novel Traction Systems for Sustainable Futures in LICs in Sub-Saharan Africa (2020-2022
  • Decarbonisation Strategies for Thailand Railways (2022)


Journal papers

  1. Isler, C., M. Blumenfeld, C. Roberts (2021). Assessment of railway infrastructure improvements: valuation of costs, energy consumption and emissions. Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments. 52.
  2. Blumenfeld, M., C. Roberts, F. Schmid (2021). Using radical innovation to overcome utility trade-offs in urban rail systems in megalopoleis. Future Transportation,1 (2). pp. 154-168.
  3. Jack, A., U. T. Abdurrahman, M. Blumenfeld, C. Lin, T. Gerstein, C. P. L. Barkan (2021). Towards measuring national railways’ safety through benchmarking transparency and published data. Safety Science [in print]
  4. Aoun, J., E. Quaglietta, R.M.P. Goverde, M. Scheidt, M. Blumenfeld, A. Jack, B. Redfern (2021). A hybrid Delphi-AHP multi-criteria analysis of Moving Block and Virtual Coupling railway signalling. Transportation Research Part C, 129. pp. 1-22.
  5. Boghani, H.C., R. Ambur, M. Blumenfeld, L. Saade, R. M. Goodall, C. P. Ward, O. Plášek, N. Gofton, M. Morata, C. Roberts, R. Dixon (2020). Sensitivity enriched multi-criterion decision making process for novel railway switches and crossings− a case study. European Transport Research Review, 13(1). pp. 1-14.
  6. Blumenfeld, M., W. Wemakor, L. Azzouz, C. Roberts. (2019). Developing a New Technical Strategy for Rail Infrastructure in Low-Income Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Sustainability. 11(16). pp. 1-23.
  7. Blumenfeld, M., C. Roberts and F. Schmid. (2016). A systems approach to developing a new type of metro for megalopolis. ICE Transport. 169 (4). pp. 225-238.

Conference papers

  1. Blumenfeld, M, S. Hillmansen, A. Burrows (2022). Maturity Matrices to Assess Decarbonisation Roadmaps in Asia and the Pacific. Proceedings of the World Congress on Railway Research, 06-10 June 2022, Birmingham, UK.
  2. Blumenfeld, M., H. Foss, C. Roberts. (2019). Future by design: the next frontier for radical change in railway systems. Proceedings of the World Congress on Railway Research, 28-31 October 2019, Tokyo, Japan.
  3. Blumenfeld, M., E. Stewart and E. Lathios. (2016). Using Model Based Systems Engineering to increase the robustness of monitoring systems in railways. Proceedings of IET Conference on Railway Condition Monitoring, 27-28 September 2016, Birmingham, UK
  4. Boghani, H. C., R. Ambur, R. G. Goodall, C. Ward, L. Saade, M. Blumenfeld, C. Roberts, R. Dixon. (2018). Selection of novel concepts for railway track switches and crossings. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Railway Technology, 3-7 September 2018, Barcelona, Spain.
  5. R. Evans, M. Blumenfeld, C. Roberts and F. Schmid. (2016). Systems Thinking for Delivering Long Term Visions for Rail. Proceedings of the World Congress in Railway Research, 29 may- 2 June 2016, Milan, Italy
  6. Blumenfeld, M., C. Roberts and F. Schmid. 2016. A systems approach to developing a metro fit for 2050. 11th World Congress in Railway Research, 29 may- 2 June 2016, Milan, Italy
  7. Blumenfeld, M., F. Schmid and C. Roberts. (2016). A systems approach to developing future urban systems: creating a metro that fits the megalopolis. Proceedings of the IET International Conference in Railway Engineering, 12-13 May 2016, Brussels, Belgium.
  8. Blumenfeld, M., C. Roberts and F. Schmid. (2016). An operational strategy to increase average door-to-door speeds of metro systems in megalopoleis, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Smart Infrastructure and Construction, 27-29 June 2016, Cambridge, UK.


  • Advisory role for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCA), devising strategies and roadmaps for decarbonisation and digitalisation of railway.
  • UNDP advisor to the Brazilian Ministry of Infrastructure in the development of the railway section of the National Land Transport Plan.