Thesis - Volunteer opportunity: Commuting and mobility at the VU


Stefan Titus


VU accommodates a diverse community of students and staff who commute from various locations across the Netherlands. While efforts have been undertaken to discourage personal car usage among employees, the pivot towards public transport presents its unique set of challenges. The municipality of Amsterdam, where VU is located, aims to alleviate congestion on public transit, particularly during peak hours and high-traffic days. Moreover, Dutch and working international students can benefit from complimentary public transport, promoting its use due to its convenience. However, the question remains: how can we further incentivize both employees and students to opt for sustainable modes of transportation like biking or walking, especially if they reside in close proximity to the university? While the primary focus is on transportation, the overarching goal of the project is to promote sustainable practices that can positively impact the broader campus community, ultimately fostering a more sustainable campus environment.


Through the Green Action Lab, you will collaborate with VU’s research and staff and help them:

  1. To assess the current commuting patterns and preferences within the Vrije Universiteit community.
  2. To identify key factors influencing the transportation choices of students and staff at Vrije Universiteit.
  3. To evaluate the effectiveness of existing incentives for sustainable commuting methods and identify potential areas for improvement.
  4. To explore innovative strategies to encourage sustainable commuting, such as biking or walking, among those living close to the university.
  5. To provide actionable recommendations on how Vrije Universiteit can further promote sustainable commuting practices among its community members.

Throughout your assignment, you will have the opportunity to work closely with VU researchers in urban planning, sustainability, and transportation. The anticipated result of this project is a comprehensive set of strategies and recommendations that aim to enhance sustainable commuting practices at Vrije Universiteit, contributing to a greener and more environmentally conscious campus.


- You are interested in the people aspect of Sustainability and

- You are a bachelor/master student at VU Amsterdam for the duration of the appointment

- You can come to VU on a regular basis

- You have good oral and written command of the English language

- You are open towards interdisciplinary collaboration and show a welcoming and tolerant work attitude.

- Desired background: Urban Planning, Transportation Engineering, Environmental Studies, Public Policy, Behavioral Sciences, Sociology, Geography, Sustainable Development, or other related fields focusing on sustainability, mobility, and community well-being.

What are we offering?:

By joining the project team, you will gain:

- Sustainability consulting experience

- Flexible desk and a study spot at the Green Office VU

- Peer reviewed publication in “Science for Sustainability” open access academic journal (when thesis is graded above 7.5)

Duration: From 1 February until 30 June 2023 (flexible)

Working hours: Approximately 8 hours per week depending on partner availability

Place: VU Amsterdam and remote

Supervision: TBA

Apply for this project