About

University roles and responsibilities

  • University of Surrey Living Lab Leader
  • Academic Integrity Officer & OSCAR Panel Member
  • Research Seminar Series Co-ordinator

    My qualifications

    BSc
    University of Macedonia, Greece
    MSc
    University of Oxford, UK
    PhD
    University of Leeds, UK

    Affiliations and memberships

    FeRSA
    Fellow of the Regional Studies Association

    Research

    Research interests

    Research projects

    Supervision

    Postgraduate research supervision

    Teaching

    Publications

    Thomopoulos, N., Attard, M. (2022) Autonomous Vehicles. In Buhalis, D. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800377486.autonomous.vehicles
    The Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing is, quite simply, the definitive reference work in the field. Carefully curated by leading tourism scholar Dimitris Buhalis, this is the largest tourism management and marketing ontology that has ever been put together and offers a holistic examination of this interdisciplinary field.
    Nikitas, A., Thomopoulos, N., Milakis, D. (2021) The Environmental and Resource Dimensions of Automated Transport: A Nexus for Enabling Vehicle Automation to Support Sustainable Urban Mobility, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 46, pp.167-192.
    Automation carries paradigm-shifting potential for urban transport and has critical sustainability dimensions for the future of our cities. This paper examines the diverse environmental and energy-related dimensions of automated mobility in the city level by reviewing an emerging and increasingly diversified volume of literature for road, rail, water and air passenger transport. The multimodal nature of this investigation provides the opportunity for a novel contribution that adds value to the literature in four distinctive ways. It reviews from a sustainability angle the state of the art underpinning the transition to a paradigm of automated mobility, identifies current knowledge gaps highlighting the scarcity of non-technical research outside the autonomous car’s realm, articulates future directions for research and policy development and proposes a conceptual model that contextualises the nexus of automation-connectivity-electrification-sharing-multimodality as the only way forward for vehicle automation to reach its pro-environmental and resource-saving potential.
    Saud, V., Thomopoulos, N. (2021) Towards inclusive transport landscapes: Re-visualising a Bicycle Sharing Scheme in Santiago Metropolitan Region, Journal of Transport Geography, 92, pp.1-16. DOI: 10.1016/j.trangeo.2021.103004
    Bicycle Sharing Schemes (BSS) are re-emerging as promising components of urban mobility solutions worldwide. However, the lack of consistent collaboration strategies between different actors and institutions, which have been tested in a wide range of cities and contexts regarding their design, tender, operation and expansion, raises significant social and governance implications. Urban transport features as a melting pot for diverse policy objectives, ranging from business model innovation, public tendering, and accessibility increase to the equity and social justice agenda. By employing a Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) framework and by introducing alluvial diagrams and circular dendrograms to BSS planning through a mixed-methods approach, this article illustrates an innovative tool in managing BSS in the context of the Global South. The strength of such diagrams has been underestimated to date since they can be particularly useful for public and private urban transport planners and policy-makers. Visualising user flows in such a manner, particularly in near-live time, may offer valuable insight on the operational challenges of BSS. Findings of the cross-sectional survey in Santiago de Chile confirm that maintenance is significant for user satisfaction levels. Furthermore, decisions regarding BSS expansion and modification could be based on such analysis and diagrams due to the precise identification of both the busiest and those under-represented BSS stations based on revealed preferences.
    Thomopoulos, N., Cohen, S., Hopkins, D., Siegel, L., Kimber, S. (2021) All work and no play? Autonomous Vehicles and non-commuting journeys, Transport Reviews, pp.1-23. DOI: 10.1080/01441647.2020.1857460
    Non-commuting journeys, which include social and recreational journeys, make up a substantial proportion of household travel and these journeys are largely taken by car. Autonomous vehicle (AV) deployment has the potential to dramatically transform the way people work and travel, as well as reshape leisure travel patterns. Yet, the wider societal implications of AVs beyond commuting, such as travel for leisure and tourism, have received minimal attention within transport literature. This state-of-the-art review follows PRISMA guidelines and begins to address this gap through a synthesis of 63 papers on AV travel focusing on non-commuting journeys, including those for leisure, tourism, shopping and visiting friends and relatives. Given the economic importance of the tourism sector and its inherent focus on non-commuting journeys, this analysis is supplemented with a review of the extent to which national tourism strategies of countries leading AV deployment include reference to AVs. The paper reveals an overwhelming focus on commuting journeys in existing AV studies as less than one-fifth of the reviewed academic sources include non-commuting as part of their wider analysis. The review's further key findings are that the interest of publics in AVs for leisure journeys appears to exceed that for commuting, sharing vehicles will be less likely when AVs are used for leisure and there is a lack of recognition in the literature that some non-commuting journeys will require a lower SAE level of automation. Surprisingly, analysis of the national tourism strategies of countries most prepared to meet the challenges of AVs shows that just three countries make specific reference to AVs within their national tourism strategies. The paper contributes to setting future AV policy agendas by concluding that two gaps must be narrowed: one, the distance between how academic studies predominantly conceive of AV use (commuting) and articulated public interest in AVs for non-commuting journeys; and two, the lack of readiness in certain national tourism strategies to accommodate AVs. As non-commuting journeys will be some of the earliest ways for which AVs will be adopted, the paper sets an agenda with a number of recommendations to aid in this transition.
    Thomopoulos, N., Attard, M., Shiftan, Y. (2023) Sustainable Automated & Connected Transport, Transport & Sustainability Book Series, Emerald (in press).
    Thomopoulos, N., Givoni, M., Rietveld, P. (2015) ICT for Transport: Opportunities and Threats, NECTAR Book Series, Cheletenham: Edward Elgar. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781783471294.00008
    Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are rapidly evolving and taking centre stage in everyday life in the 21st century alongside the increasing importance and value of information. This is particularly evident in the transport sector where ICT is greatly influencing our mobility and travel choices as well as travel experiences. With this background, this book provides evidence regarding the opportunities, threats, underlying principles and practical issues faced when deploying ICT for transport applications. By focusing on infrastructure, people and processes, the contributors to this book illustrate the challenges for academics, practitioners and policy makers alike through diverse case studies from across the world.
    Milakis, D., Thomopoulos, N., van Wee, B. (2020) Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles, Advances in Transport Policy and Planning, Academic Press - Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.atpp.2020.06.001
    Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles, Volume Five in the Advances in Transport Policy and Planning series systematically reviews policy relevant implications of AVs and the associated possible policy responses, and discusses future avenues for policy making and research. It comprises 13 chapters discussing: (a) short-term implications of AVs for traffic flow, human-automated bus systems interaction, cyber-security and safety, cybersecurity certification and auditing, non-commuting journeys; (b) long-term implications of AVs for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and energy, health and well-being, data protection, ethics, governance; (c) implications of AVs for the maritime industry and urban deliveries; and (d) overall synthesis and conclusions.
    Kaplan, L., Rupprecht, S., Grosso, M., Thomopoulos, N., Backhaus, W., Alonso Raposo, M., Ciuffo, B., Franco, D. (2023) Ensuring Strong Public Support for Automation in the Planning Process: From Engagement to Co-creation. In: Meyer, G., Beiker, S. (eds) Road Vehicle Automation 9. ARTSymposium 2021. Lecture Notes in Mobility. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-11112-9_13
    This book is the ninth volume of a sub-series on Road Vehicle Automation, published as part of the Lecture Notes in Mobility. It gathers contributions to the Automated Road Transportation Symposium (ARTS), held on July 12-15, 2021, as a fully virtual event, and as a continuation of TRB's annual summer symposia on automated vehicle systems. Written by researchers, engineers and analysts from around the globe, this book offers a multidisciplinary perspectives on the opportunities and challenges associated with automating road transportation. It highlights innovative strategies, including public policies, infrastructure planning and automated technologies, which are expected to foster sustainable and automated mobility in the near future, thus addressing industry, government and research communities alike. 
    van Wee, B., Milakis, D., Thomopoulos, N. (2020) Overall synthesis and conclusions - Chapter 13. In Milakis, D., Thomopoulos, N., van Wee, B. (Eds) Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles, Oxford: Academic Press - Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.atpp.2020.06.001
    This chapter first systematically summarizes the most important findings and policy implications of each of the chapters included in this book volume. Next it synthesizes the overall findings and policy implications, and discusses future avenues for policy making and research. A first conclusion is that the chapters make clear that the ranges in policy relevant implications of AVs, within the scope of each chapter/topic, are still relatively broad. Secondly we conclude that research that is conceptually rich is more valuable for policy making. Thirdly we hypothesize that context matters for the uptake, impacts, and specific system design characteristics of real world AV implementation. Fourth we conclude that research on the global south has been limited so far. Fifth we argue that AVs, shared vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs) might stimulate each other in a positive way, in all directions. Finally we conclude that AVs will have wider societal implications, such as in the area of land use, accessibility, social exclusion, governmental expenditures, the labor market, and the environment. The more indirect the effects of AVs are, the more difficult they are to understand. For policy making a first conclusion is that the issues of ethics, cyber security and data protection deserve way more attention than they currently get. We also conclude that future motorway network extensions might not be no-regret anymore, because of possible congestion reductions due to AVs, but also because of decreasing marginal values of time. Finally we argue that countries that introduce AVs later than other countries can learn a lot from the real world experiences elsewhere.
    Costantini, F., Thomopoulos, N., Steibel, F., Curl, A., Lugano, G., Kovacikova, T., (2020) Autonomous vehicles in a GDPR era: An international comparison - Chapter 8. In Milakis, D., Thomopoulos, N., van Wee, B. (Eds) Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles, Oxford: Academic Press - Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.atpp.2020.02.005
    Due to the extensive amount of data generated by an autonomous vehicle (AV) and the information flowing among AVs and through surrounding infrastructure, data governance legislation poses as a significant challenge especially in the perspective of their large-scale introduction. Regulation (EU) 2016/679, which is known as GDPR and entered into force in May 2018, has been a tipping point in personal data protection even in countries outside the European Union (EU). Although the majority of EU member States have already adapted their legal systems to its provisions, a few others are still on the process, and institutions and companies are challenged by the need to comply. This chapter conducts a mapping review of existing regulations in seven countries, namely Austria, Brazil, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Slovakia and Switzerland, to assess policy challenges of AV testing and deployment focusing on the implications in terms of data protection. Potential areas of cooperation are identified, as well as evidence of divergent approaches, which are discussed in order to provide valuable suggestions for policy making at local, European and international level for AV testing and deployment.
    Rode, P., Floater, G., Thomopoulos, N., Docherty, J., Schwinger, P., Mahendra, A., Fang, W. (2017) Accessibility in Cities: Transport and Urban Form. In: Meyer, G., Shaheen, S. (eds) Disrupting Mobility. Lecture Notes in Mobility. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51602-8_15
    This chapter reviews the different pathways which cities are following to become more accessible. By identifying the close link between transport and urban form based on global evidence, it highlights the direct and indirect costs of choices made. It then presents the tipping points which can allow to proceed from sprawling urban development and conventional motorised transport to more compact cities characterised by innovative mobility choices shaped around shared and public transport. The examples used are based on cities worldwide to illustrate emerging trends from both developed and developing countries. Therefore, the recommendations are valuable for a range of stakeholders including local and national policy makers, academics and vehicle manufacturers.
    Thomopoulos, N., Embery, J. (2013) Two birds with one stone: Enhancing education for sustainable development and employability – Chapter 9. In Atfield, R., Kemp, P. (Eds.) Enhancing education for sustainable development in Business and Management, Hospitality, Leisure, Marketing, Tourism, York: The Higher Education Academy.
    This case study describes the design and delivery of a sustainable development module for undergraduate students at Leeds Metropolitan University. By explaining the methods used, it highlights the constantly evolving nature of education for sustainable development. At the same time it demonstrates that multiple objectives (for example those of students, higher education institutions (HEIs), government) may be met through the use of different delivery methods, available technology, student input and up-to-date research, while accommodating diverse learning styles.
    Polydoropoulou, A., Tsouros, I., Thomopoulos, N., Pronello, C., Elvarsson, A., Sigþórsson, H., Dadashzadeh, N., Stojmenova, K., Sodnik, J., Neophytou, S. and Esztergár-Kiss, D., Shiftan, Y., di Ciommo, F. (2021) Who is willing to share their AV? Insights about gender differences among seven countries. Sustainability, 13(9), p.4769. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094769
    The introduction of shared autonomous vehicles into the transport system is suggested to bring significant impacts on traffic conditions, road safety and emissions, as well as overall reshaping travel behaviour. Compared with a private autonomous vehicle, a shared automated vehicle (SAV) is associated with different willingness-to-adopt and willingness-to-pay characteristics. An important aspect of future SAV adoption is the presence of other passengers in the SAV—often people unknown to the cotravellers. This study presents a cross-country exploration of user preferences and WTP calculations regarding mode choice between a private non-autonomous vehicle, and private and shared autonomous vehicles. To explore user preferences, the study launched a survey in seven European countries, including a stated-preference experiment of user choices. To model and quantify the effect of travel mode attributes and socio-demographic characteristics, the study employs a mixed logit model. The model results were the basis for calculating willingness-to-pay values for all countries and travel modes, and provide insight into the significant heterogeneous, gender-wise effect of cotravellers in the choice to use an SAV. The study results highlight the importance of analysis of the effect of SAV attributes and shared-ride conditions on the future acceptance and adoption rates of such services.
    Etzioni, S., Hamadneh, J., Elvarsson, A.B., Esztergár-Kiss, D., Djukanovic, M., Neophytou, S.N., Sodnik, J., Polydoropoulou, A., Tsouros, I., Pronello, C., Thomopoulos, N., Shiftan, Y. (2020) Modeling cross-national differences in automated vehicle acceptance. Sustainability, 12(22), p.9765. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229765
    The technology that allows fully automated driving already exists and it may gradually enter the market over the forthcoming decades. Technology assimilation and automated vehicle acceptance in different countries is of high interest to many scholars, manufacturers, and policymakers worldwide. We model the mode choice between automated vehicles and conventional cars using a mixed multinomial logit heteroskedastic error component type model. Specifically, we capture preference heterogeneity assuming a continuous distribution across individuals. Different choice scenarios, based on respondents’ reported trip, were presented to respondents from six European countries: Cyprus, Hungary, Iceland, Montenegro, Slovenia, and the UK. We found that large reservations towards automated vehicles exist in all countries with 70% conventional private car choices, and 30% automated vehicles choices. We found that men, under the age of 60, with a high income who currently use private car, are more likely to be early adopters of automated vehicles. We found significant differences in automated vehicles acceptance in different countries. Individuals from Slovenia and Cyprus show higher automated vehicles acceptance while individuals from wealthier countries, UK, and Iceland, show more reservations towards them. Nontrading mode choice behaviors, value of travel time, and differences in model parameters among the different countries are discussed.
    Kyriakidis, M., Sodnik, J., Stojmenova, K., Elvarsson, A.B., Pronello, C., Thomopoulos, N. (2020) The role of human operators in safety perception of av deployment—insights from a large european survey. Sustainability, 12(21), p.9166. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219166
    Autonomous vehicles are anticipated to play an important role on future mobility offering encouraging solutions to today’s transport problems. However, concerns of the public, which can affect the AVs’ uptake, are yet to be addressed. This study presents relevant findings of an online survey in eight European countries. First, 1639 responses were collected in Spring 2020 on people’s commute, preferred transport mode, willingness to use AVs and demographic details. Data was analyzed for the entire dataset and for vulnerable road users in particular. Results re-confirm the long-lasting discourse on the importance of safety on the acceptance of AVs. Spearman correlations show that age, gender, education level and number of household members have an impact on how people may be using or allowing their children to use the technology, e.g., with or without the presence of a human supervisor in the vehicle. Results on vulnerable road users show the same trend. The elderly would travel in AVs with the presence of a human supervisor. People with disabilities have the same proclivity, however their reactions were more conservative. Next to safety, reliability, affordability, cost, driving pleasure and household size may also impact the uptake of AVs and shall be considered when designing relevant policies.
    Thomopoulos, N., Harrison, G. (2016) An ethical assessment of low carbon vehicles using cost benefit analysis. International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 16(3), pp.227-247.
    Global concerns about climate change, as confirmed at COP21, have led to lower carbon emissions environmental policies, particularly in the road transport sector. Through an empirical analysis of low carbon vehicle (LCV) policies in California, this paper contrasts the findings from diverse distribution theories between income quintiles - used as a proxy for societal groups - to address vertical equity concerns and offer an overview of impact distribution to policy makers. Thus, it contributes in operationalising ethical theories within transport cost benefit analysis and revisiting impact distribution when promoting low carbon vehicles. Findings indicate that manufacturer penalties are the most effective policy measure to avoid cost transfer between stakeholders. Yet, the analysis shows that those purchasing small LCVs may face disproportional vehicle purchase cost increases which needs to be considered by policy makers. Thus, this paper makes a methodological contribution regarding CBA in practice as well as providing policy relevant recommendations.
    Thomopoulos, N., Givoni, M. (2015) The autonomous car—a blessing or a curse for the future of low carbon mobility? An exploration of likely vs. desirable outcomes. European Journal of Futures Research, 3(1), pp.1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40309-015-0071-z
    Certain developed countries have experienced the ‘peak car’ phenomenon. While this remains to be confirmed longitudinally, it looks certain that future mobility in Europe and elsewhere will be shaped by a particular technological development: driverless or autonomous transport. The ‘autonomous car’ ignites the imagination, yet the research and debate on this topic largely focus on the ‘autonomous’ and not adequately on the ‘car’ element. Like any new technological development, autonomous transport presents ample opportunities to better our mobility system, but similarly it carries risks and can lead into a future mobility that exacerbates, rather than relieves, current deficiencies of our mobility systems, including its high carbon and high cost characteristics. Now it is high time to explore these, before we lock ourselves into the autonomous car future. Using Low Carbon Mobility (LCM) as a guiding framework to assess mobility patterns and based on an extensive literature review, this paper aims to explore where there is a gap between the likely and desirable outcomes when developing the autonomous car and suggest how we might reduce it. Moreover, enhancing on global empirical evidence and forecasts about the opportunities and threats emerging from ICT deployment in transport and initial evidence on the development of the autonomous car, the paper concludes that a desirable outcome will only come if technological development will be accompanied by a social change. A change where public and sharing will be seen as superior to private and individual transport, could make the autonomous car a blessing.
    Thomopoulos, N., Grant-Muller, S. (2013) Incorporating equity as part of the wider impacts in transport infrastructure assessment: an application of the SUMINI approach. Transportation, 40(2), pp.315-345. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-012-9418-5
    The state of the art in appraisal of transport infrastructure (particularly for developed countries) is moving towards inclusivity of a set of wider impacts than has traditionally been the case. In appraisal frameworks generally Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA), features as either an alternative to, or complementary with, Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) particularly when assessing a wider set of distributional and other impacts. In that respect it goes some way towards addressing an identified weakness in conventional CBA. This paper proposes a new method to incorporate the wider impacts into the appraisal framework (SUMINI) based upon a composite indicator and MCA. The method is illustrated for a particular example of the wider set of impacts, i.e. equity, through the ex-post assessment of two large EU transport infrastructure (TEN-T) case studies. The results suggest that SUMINI assesses equity impacts well and the case studies highlight the flexibility of the approach in reflecting different policy or project objectives. The research concludes that this method should not be viewed as being in competition with traditional CBA, but that it could be an easily adopted and complementary approach. The value in the research is in providing a new and significant methodological advance to the historically difficult question of how to evaluate equity and other wider impacts. The research is of strong international significance due to the publication of the TEN-Ts review by the European Commission, as well as the transnational nature of large scale interurban transport schemes, the involvement of national and transnational stakeholder groups in the approval and funding of those schemes, the large numbers of population potentially subject to equity and other wider impacts and the degree of variation in the regional objectives and priorities for transport decision makers.
    Thomopoulos, N., Takama, T. (2010) Road user charging in rural areas: Upper Derwent valley, UK. In Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers-Transport, 163(2), pp. 93-107. Thomas Telford Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1680/tran.2010.163.2.93
    Road user charging in urban areas and highways has been studied and implemented in several places worldwide. However, limited attention has been given so far to the impacts of a local road user charging scheme for rural or other protected areas, particularly in the UK. The focus of this paper is the road user charging scheme, which has been proposed for implementation in the Upper Derwent valley of the Peak District national park. By applying both quantitative and qualitative methods it is shown that such schemes share considerable differences compared to other urban or highway schemes, such as diverse objectives, trip purposes, visitors' value of time and dispersion of traffic in neighbouring areas. Nonetheless, management of a rural scheme, the evaluation method used, as well as equity issues appear to be equally significant as in other urban or highway schemes. The conclusion is that a road user charging scheme in the Upper Derwent valley could bring positive impacts by reducing high car usage at peak periods and creating additional revenue to serve essential improvements in the area, but is sensitive to the income and age of the visitors.
    Thomopoulos, N., Grant-Muller, S., Tight, M.R. (2009) Incorporating equity considerations in transport infrastructure evaluation: Current practice and a proposed methodology. Evaluation and program planning, 32(4), pp.351-359. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2009.06.013
    Interest has re-emerged on the issue of how to incorporate equity considerations in the appraisal of transport projects and large road infrastructure projects in particular. This paper offers a way forward in addressing some of the theoretical and practical concerns that have presented difficulties to date in incorporating equity concerns in the appraisal of such projects. Initially an overview of current practice within transport regarding the appraisal of equity considerations in Europe is offered based on an extensive literature review. Acknowledging the value of a framework approach, research towards introducing a theoretical framework is then presented. The proposed framework is based on the well established MCA Analytic Hierarchy Process and is also contrasted with the use of a CBA based approach. The framework outlined here offers an additional support tool to decision makers who will be able to differentiate choices based on their views on specific equity principles and equity types. It also holds the potential to become a valuable tool for evaluators as a result of the option to assess predefined equity perspectives of decision makers against both the project objectives and the estimated project impacts. This framework may also be of further value to evaluators outside transport.
    Herzogenrath-Amelung, H., Troullinou, P., Thomopoulos, N. (2015) Reversing the order: Towards a philosophically informed debate on ICT for transport. In Thomopoulos, N., Givoni, M., Rietveld, P. (Eds.) ICT for Transport: Opportunities and Threats, NECTAR Book Series, Cheletenham: Edward Elgar. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781783471294.00008
    ICTs are increasingly used in transport contexts for reasons of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and convenience. At the same time, such technologies enable increasingly comprehensive surveillance from the data gathered via devices and infrastructure. Marketing discourses around these applications highlight the benefits tha such technologies have for the user and avoid mention of potential risks. This leaves users under- (and in some cases mis-) informed concerning the use of their data by third parties, which raises a number of ethical, social, and legal concerns such as privacy and social profiling.Thus this chapter foregrounds the dual use of ICTs in transport contexts using up-to-date cases of applications and offers policy-relevant recommendations t oinform the inclusion of techical, social, legal issues in the design stage of ICTs for transport.
    Hogan, G., Dolins, S., Senturk, I., Fyrogenis, I., Fu, Q., Murati, E., Costantini, F.,Thomopoulos, N. (2019) Can a blockchain-based MaaS create business value?, Proceedings, 28, 8001. https://doi.org/proceedings2019028001
    In this paper two contermporary technological novelties are combined to introduce the concept of a blockchain-based MaaS with the aim of pinpointing where and how business value can be created through data-based services of such a system. Towards this purpose, an integrated version of the Business Model Canvas is deployed, combining the advantages of the Lean Canvas and the Ethics Canvas. The overview of data flows among the versatile system stakeholders are outlined to highlight the optential benefits for diverse industries through sharing and collaboration.