Prof. dr. Frank Witlox

+32 (0)9 264 45 53
+32 (0)9 264 46 95
Tenured Academic Staff
Research unit
Social and Economic Geography


Frank Witlox holds a PhD in Urban Planning (Eindhoven University of Technology, promotor Harry Timmermans), a Master’s Degree in Applied Economics and a Master’s Degree in Maritime Sciences (both University of Antwerp). Currently, he is Head of Department and Senior Full Professor of Economic Geography at the Department of Geography of Ghent University (UGent).

(1) Teaching.

At Ghent University he teaches at Bachelor level: Transport Geography; Spatial Modelling Techniques; at Master level: Urban Mobility and Logistics; Geography of the Firm, and Transport Economics and Policy. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology (Department of Geography) of the University of Tartu (Estonia) where he teaches Economic Geography of Urban Systems, and is the International Head of the Mobility Lab. As of April 2017 he is also an appointed Visiting Professor/High-end Foreign Expert at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA, China), College of Civil Aviation, and since September 2018 a 100 Talents Program laureate of Jiangsu Province.

(2) Research.

Frank Witlox heads (together with Giovanni Circella) the Social and Economic Geography (SEG) Research group at the Department of Geography ( Frank’s research focuses on travel behavior analysis and modeling, travel and land use, sustainable mobility issues, business travel, cross-border mobility, city logistics, global commodity chains, globalization and world city-formation, polycentric urban development, and locational analysis of corporations. He was the (co-)supervisor of 22 successful defended doctoral dissertations (Tijs Neutens, Veronique Van Acker, Lomme Devriendt, Thomas Vanoutrive, Kobe Boussauw, David Bassens, Heidi Hanssens, Sven Vlassenroot, Olle Järv, Michael Bentlage, Tom Storme, Ana Carolina Mojica Segovia, Elien Van de Vijver, Thomas Dubois, Sara Verlinde, Jonas De Vos, Shengrun Zhang, Michiel van Meeteren, Dereje Teklemariam, Hojatollah Khedrigharibvand, Hossein Azadi, Freke Caset, Kunbo Shi), and he was 100+ times an invited external PhD examiner at Universities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, and Estonia.

(3) Academic services.

Frank Witlox is since 2007 an Associate Director of the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Network. Since 2010 he is the Director of the Doctoral School of Natural Sciences (UGent). The director is responsible for increasing the international and social value of the doctorate, aims to enhance the support provided to the doctoral students, and contributes to strengthen the quality culture in (doctoral) research. Frank Witlox is also the current chairman of the Institute of Sustainable Mobility (IDM) at UGent, and of the Belgium Institute of Transport Organizers (BITO-IBOT). As of January 1, 2016 Frank Witlox is the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Transport Geography, a world-leading interdisciplinary journal focusing on the geographical dimensions of transport, travel and mobility. In addition, he is Section Editor-in-Chief of Smart Cities, an Associate Editor of Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, an Associate Editor of Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, and founding co-Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Urban Mobility, and serves on the editorial board of the following web-of-science listed journals: European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, Journal of Urban Technology, Transport Reviews, Sustainability, Journal of Location Based Services, Transport and Applied Mobilities. Frank is also a regular reviewer for the science foundations of Flanders (FWO), Walloon Region (FNRS), Brussels Region (Innoviris), Austria (FWF), Canada (SSHRC), Chile (CONICYT), Croatia (CASHE), Czech Republic (GACR), Denmark (IFD), Estonia (ETAg, Archimedes), Europe (ERC), France (ANR), Hungary (OTKA), Israel (ISF), Lithuania (MOSTA), Luxembourg (FNR), Norway (RCN), Poland (NCN), Qatar (QNRF), Romania (PCCF), Sweden (IFS), Switzerland (SNSF), the Netherlands (NWO, QANU), UK (ESRC), US (NSF).

(4) Honours.

Since August 1, 2013 Frank Witlox has been appointed an Honorary Professor in the School of Geography at The University of Nottingham. On December 1, 2018, he was conferred the degree of Doctor honoris causa in Geography at the University of Tartu (Estonia). In June 2019, he was appointed a Life-time Honorary Member of Benelux Interuniversity Association of Transport Economists (BIVEC-GIBET), after having served ten years as the association’s chairman. On February 5, 2020, he was conferred the degree of Doctor honoris causa from the Odessa National Polytechnic University (Ukraine).