Neil Ferguson

Senior Lecturer

Personal Statement

Dr Ferguson is a Chartered Engineer and member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.  He holds PhD and BEng (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering and a LLB in Law.   He has over 15 years experience in research, education and consultancy.  His primary research interests include the analysis of transport systems (including day-to-day travel behaviour as well as longer-term decisions about mobility resources and residential location choice), actions related to the mitigation, impact and adaptation to the effects of greenhouse gas emissions from transport, traffic-related air pollution, driver behaviour and social inequalities related to transport.  He has taught classes in transport planning, traffic engineering, highway design and statistical methods at undergraduate and postgraduate level and successfully delivered training courses for industry.  He has published over 20 articles as author or co-author in refereed journals and book chapters.  His work has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, ClimateXChange Scotland and industry.

Research Interests

Dr Ferguson was Principal Investigator on the transport work package undertaken by the EPSRC-funded CityForm consortium which examined the influence of urban form and spatial structure on travel behaviour.  Large-scale, in-depth surveys of travel behaviour were undertaken in 5 cities, multi-modal transport networks were modelled in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and advanced econometric methods were used to examine accessibility correlates of travel behaviour, travel behaviour change and car ownership.  An innovative, quasi-longitudinal research design using recall data to investigate travel behaviour changes over time was adopted which remains the only study of its kind to be conducted in Europe and one of only a handful worldwide.

His work on accessibility and multi-modal transport networks was developed further in Apollo Scotland funded by the MRC and undertaken in collaboration with researchers at two internationally-leading research units – the MRC Social and Public Health Research Unit in Glasgow (Dr Anne Ellaway) and the MRC Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge (Dr David Ogilvie).  Techniques developed in CityForm were applied to measure the accessibility of sports facilities by car, bus, bicycle and walking.  A particular innovation was developing computational procedures to link raw public transport timetable data to Ordnance Survey map data to create a searchable bus network.  Techniques used to construct transport networks were subsequently applied in funded Knowledge Exchange activity.  This project also highlighted limitations in the current conception and calculation of accessibility when the choice set consists of heterogeneous alternatives.  This paved the way for the extension of accessibility theory and has multiple applications in transport planning and related areas (e.g. transport network resilience, location choice, option valuation, quality of life assessment).

Related research commissioned by the Scottish Executive was published as part of the Executive’s Social Research Series (ISBN 9780755965946). The report contains original analyses of secondary data sets such as the International Passenger Survey and the Civil Aviation Authority Survey and examines the travel behaviour of visitors to Scotland, identifies key gaps in knowledge and accessibility and makes policy recommendations to Scottish Executive and transport/tourism agencies.

This work was also supported by two fully-funded Commonwealth Scholars from the Polytechnic of Malawi (Association of Commonwealth Universities).  The first of these examined individual, household and village-level correlates of specific health outcomes in the District of Chikwawa in Malawi.  The second project involved an assessment of the relationship between transport accessibility and a range of quality of life indicators.  These two projects have produced a total of seven journal articles, with one article currently under review and a further two under development.

He is working with Dr Beverland (Civil and Environmental Engineering) on a series of linked projects which tackle traffic-related air pollution incidents.  His primary contribution to this work involves building active traffic management strategies to meet air quality objectives.  This requires the development of a better understanding of the relationship between traffic patterns and air pollution using field measurements and fine-scale modelling.  This work is being undertaken with the financial support and of Transport Scotland, Ricardo AEA and IBI Group.

Expertise & Capabilities

Dr Ferguson has expertise in statistical/econometric analysis of travel behaviour, transport data acquisition, geographical information systems applied to transport systems and microsimulation.  

Teaching Interests

Dr Ferguson currently teaches the following classes:

Transport Engineering (3rd year BEng/MEng Civil Engineering): This class aims to introduce key principles and techniques used in the analysis and design of roads and streets.

Transport Planning (4th year BEng/MEng Civil Engineering): This class aims to introduce students to the principles and techniques used in the planning of transport systems.  It begins by examining the influence of spatial and temporal separation on land rents and land uses.  Next, the roles of land use patterns and individual/household circumstances on travel decision-making will be explored.  This knowledge will then be used to estimate and use models of travel demand.  The conceptualisation and measurement of accessibility will be used to characterise transport network supply.  Finally, demand and supply-side analysis will be employed in an exercise to plan an extension to an urban public transport system.

Transport, Development and Sustainability (5th year MEng/MSc Civil Engineering and related courses): This class explores recent trends in land-based transport at a strategic and local level and the social and environmental impacts of transport systems.  The interaction between land-use and transport is examined and the impact on travel demand of land-use developments and new transport infrastructure / services is studied. Techniques used for impact assessment and decision-making are discussed and a review of the mitigation and adaptation measures available to decision-makers is carried out. 

City Systems and Infrastructure (MSc Leadership for Global Sustainable Cities): This class will examine the key systems and infrastructure on which urban centres depend and promote critical reflection on how the design, management and monitoring of these systems impact on the social, environmental and economic sustainability of cities. The use of case studies will allow students to engage with real-world situations, challenges and opportunities and consider multiple infrastructure and technology options for sustainable city strategies.

 

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    Research areas

  • Travel Behaviour, Accessibility, Transport Systems, Geographical Information Systems, Traffic Engineering and Control, Transport Modelling, Incident Management, Traffic-related Air Pollution, Driver Behaviour, Climate Change Adaptation, Transport Planning

Projects

(17)
  1. BRE Framework Collaboration / S130160-106

    Project: Research - Internally AllocatedResearch (Internally Allocated)

  2. Field Evaluation & Optimal Deployment Of Portable Air Pollution Measurement Systems For Assessment Of Human Exposure / S120785-2

    Project: Research Studentship Case - Internally allocatedResearch Studentship CASE (Internally Allocated)

  3. Field Evaluation & Optimal Deployment Of Portable Air Pollution Measurement Systems For Assessment Of Human Exposure | Masey, Nicola

    Project: Research Studentship Case - Internally allocatedResearch Studentship CASE (Internally Allocated)

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Impact

(1)
  1. Cafe Logistique

    Impact: Impact - for External PortalPublic understanding, information and debate, Economic and commerce, Environment and sustainability - natural world and built environment, Policy and legislation

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Neil Ferguson

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