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Prof Nick Tyler
206
Chadwick Building
Gower Street
London
WC1E 6BT
Tel: +44 20 7679 1562
Appointment
  • Chadwick Chair of Civil Engineering
  • Dept of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Eng
  • Faculty of Engineering Science
Biography

Nick Tyler is Chadwick Professor of Civil Engineering, and investigates the ways in which people interact with their immediate environments. He set up the Accessibility Research Group within the Centre for Transport Studies, with a team of researchers investigating many aspects of accessibility and public transport. The group has a total research portfolio of more than £20million for projects including the PAMELA pedestrian environment laboratory, which is being used to develop models for accessible pedestrian infrastructure. Nick is also the Director of the UCL CRUCIBLE Centre, which is a multi-Research Council funded Centre for interdisciplinary research on lifelong health and wellbeing and
involves researchers from all 8 faculties in UCL. Nick holds a PhD from University College London, where his thesis was on a methodology for the design of high capacity bus systems using artificial intelligence. He was on the winning team for the EC-funded ‘City Design in Latin America 2000: The European City as a Model’ competition, for the design of the transport interchange at Federico Lacroze in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is currently part of the UK invovlement in the Chinese Low Carbon Cities Development project. He is a member of the UK HM Treasury Infrastructure UK's Engineering Interdpendencies Expert Group. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Ciivil Engineers and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was appointed a CBE in the New Year's Honours 2011 for services to technology and elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014.

Research Summary

Nick Tyler's research investigates the ways in which people interact with their immediate environments. This includes the way in which common functions - such as walking - are managed by subconscious control systems which interact with the physical, sensory and cognitive environments in which people function. Some elements of moving around the pedestrian environment require physical activity, such as propelling a wheelchair. Although a lot of research has been undertaken in relation to the self-propulsion of a wheelchair  by the occupant, little has been carried out in relation to the problems for an attendant in pushing a wheelchair. Studies in Nick Tyler's laboratory show that the work involved for an attendant in managing a wheelchair is extremely high, not least due to the current 'normal' design of the environment. Failure in the walking process is found when a person stumbles and, in complete failure mode, falls. Nick Tyler's team is therefore studying falling and the fear of falling, both in the static pedestrian environment and inside moving vehicles (e.g. a bus), where the studies include the situation of walking up and down stairs or along the floor of a bus and the impacts of crashes on children in wheelchairs inside cars. The team is also investigating the extent to which the subconscious is invovled in these interactions, especially under conditions of cognitive load (such as when using a mobile phone). Nick is also leading a team investigating the feasibility of a wholly new concept in exoskeleton design. His team is also involved in the development of robotics-assisted mobility scooters within the pedestrian environment, the study of whether or not technological
interventions,such as electric mobiity scooters, help or hinder their users in terms of their longer term health and wellbeing. The team is also working with manufacturers and clinicians to develop a better therapeutic management system for wheelchair users.An important aspect of the environment is the changing nature of cities so the rapid expansion of cities in the global south is an important case to consider. Nick Tyler's team is addressing how peri-urban living could be better accommodated by design and operation which is more appropriate for the specific circumstances of such transient situations. This is extended into the development of low carbon technologies in transport systems to improve the sensory and healthy environment. This includes research into the development of new fuels, energy sources and dynamic energy management within vehicles. More recently he has set up a Universal Composition Laboratory (www.cege.uc.ac.uk/arg/ucl-squared) which studies and implement multisensorial design in time and space.

Teaching Summary

Nick Tyler's teaching contribution is driven by a new concept about what engineering is and how this should be enacted in the future. Engineering is to serve the world's population with the aim of aking the world a better place. This view of engineering as a public service requires that future engineers understand in the most complete way what problems the world's population is facing and what the desired outcomes should be from solving these challenges. That outcomes-focused approach led him to make a fundamental renewal of UCL's civil and environmental teaching programmes. Students learn first about how to understand the contexts within which the world lives and then how these could be improved, and then learn the engineering techniques that could be brought to bear on resolving the challenges. Thus the contribution of engineering is not only the hardware and software that drives engineering solutions, but also the intellectual discipline associated to hiw a problem is identified and analysed outcomes determined, solutions implemented and evaluated. THey learn that there is no single correct solution, that equations do not provide answers, but instead provide indications, and that the key to engineering is the interpretation of all the available evidence to making a better understanding of the problem and thus of the implications of potential solutions. Thus engineers need to understand the political, social, economic and environmental context within which they will operate as well as the whole depth of the science and practice disciplines needed to bring about an approach to helping the world improve the quality of living for all its inhabitants. Nick Tyler's teaching activity therefore drives towards this sort of understanding in the next generation of engineers, politicians, investors, ... people.

Academic Background
1992 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Transport Planning University College London
1987 MSc Master of Science – Transport Planning Polytechnic of Central London
1975 ARCM Associate of the Royal College of Music – Music Royal College of Music
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University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

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