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Professor Andrew Parkes, Executive Director for the Centre of Mobility and Transport

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Contact Andrew for an informal discussion about this studentship

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Older drivers in a changing traffic environment

Eligibility: UK/EU

Award Details: £15,000 Bursary plus tuition fees - UK/EU only

Duration: Full time - 3 years 6 months Fixed Term

Application deadline: This opportunity will only remain open until a suitable candidate is identified- early application is therefore advised. Standard University research application closing dates apply

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Professor Andrew Parkes to discuss this opportunity.

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree with Coventry’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’. Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

The Project

This project will use a combination of human factors methods to quantify older drivers’ abilities and expectations in modern traffic. We will combine objective measures such as situation awareness (SA) using techniques (SART, SAGAT and others) and field dependence, developed in aviation but applied within the newly established Coventry University driving simulator. Different levels of driving automation will be simulated and driver behavioural and physiological response (for different age groups) will be analysed. This will be supplemented by qualitative focus group studies of driving aids and automation.

Depending on the student’s academic background, we foresee a suite of studies that may include:

  • The development of an analysis framework to include recent developments the analysis of older car drivers and new techniques for measurement of attention and arousal
  • The development of appropriate use cases and test scenarios for increasing levels of driving automation
  • A series of experiments allowing the testing of hypotheses of the mediating effect of functional age on driving performance
  • Drawing out the implications of research findings for future training, licensing and regulation of older drivers with highly automated vehicles.

About the Centre/Department

Our research in Mobility & Transport works across our faculties and focuses on the design and engineering of future transport systems, including the growing influence of the internet and connectivity. The focus is on inclusive, sustainable and safe transport integrating the strongest research elements in design and engineering. The Centre currently has around 50 staff and 70 PhD students. 

Successful Applicants

Successful applicants will have:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average,or
  • A Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at merit level (60%).
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).


  • Enthusiasm and aptitude for learning to use a driving simulator STISIM Drive) and develop experimental scenarios (E-Prime)
  • A successful background in human factors or cognitive psychology
  • Demonstrated competence in statistics
  • Experience of research with the older population
  • A wish to publish academic research in the highest quality journals
  • An understanding of the ethics of experimentation with human participants.

Eligibility & Application Procedure

Application Procedure:

Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Before completing the application please contact Professor Andrew Parkes (cc'ing when you do) for an initial informal discussion about the opportunity.


All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.