After my studies, I did a PhD. I examined the best ways to present travel information along side the road. What are the best ways to make sure people see the information, understand it and make the right decision, all within three seconds while they are driving.
After my PhD, I started working as a traffic psychologist at Goudappel Coffeng, a consultancy in the traffic and transportation field. Here I deal with specific problems in traffic and I try, by looking at human behaviour, to solve these problems. I also try to find ways to make people consider other ways of transportation than cars, so they do not end up in traffic jams.
We are commissioned by, for example, local governments. It happens quite often that engineers build smart things, but forget that there are people who have to deal with their solutions. I make sure that the solutions of the engineers are also effective.
I really like my job. It is an incredibly varied job, one day I make offers/tenders to secure assignments from clients and the other I am attending an expert session where I state what I think should be changed in a certain traffic situation. I regularly stand on a roundabout or drive on a motorway to see what makes it dangerous. I also work on programmes that stimulate people to take public transport or the bicycle instead of their car.
There is a lot of work in this field, which became very important during the past five years. People are starting to find out that it is also very important to take a human factors perspective. I still use a lot from what I learned during my studies. I learned to set up and perform research very well. A lot of people complain that there is so much emphasis on statistics at the University of Groningen, but to be honest, I am very happy about that now.