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