Dr Neil Ferguson

Senior Lecturer

Civil and Environmental Engineering


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.

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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.  

Prize And Awards

Cross-institution Graduate and Degree Apprenticeship Team

More prizes and awards

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The influence of urban form on car travel following residential relocation : a current and retrospective study in Scottish urban areas
Woods Lee, Ferguson Neil
Journal of Transport and Land Use Vol 7 (2014)
Access to recreational physical activities by car and bus : an assessment of socio-spatial inequalities in mainland Scotland
Ferguson Neil, Lamb Karen Elaine, Wang Yang, Ogilvie David, Ellaway Anne
PLOS One Vol 8 (2013)
Sociospatial distribution of access to facilities for moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity in Scotland by different modes of transport
Lamb Karen E, Ogilvie David, Ferguson Neil S, Murray Jonathan, Wang Yang, Ellaway Anne
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Vol 9 (2012)
Recreational physical activity facilities within walking and cycling distance : sociospatial patterning of access in Scotland
Ogilvie David, Lamb KE, Ferguson Neil, Ellaway Anne
Health and Place Vol 17, pp. 1015-1022 (2011)
Distribution of physical activity facilities in Scotland by small area measures of deprivation and urbanicity
Lamb K E, Ferguson Neil, Wang Yang, Ogilvie D, Ellaway A
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Vol 7 (2010)
Incorporating geographic interdependencies into the resilience assessment of multimodal public transport networks
Boura Georgia, Ferguson Neil S
Journal of Transport Geography Vol 118 (2024)

More publications

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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 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.

Professional Activities

Enhancing placemaking in Glasgow through methods co-development - ENGAGE 2024
Vulnerability of the Scottish Road Network to Flooding
Presentation to Scottish Roads Research Board
Nurturing an active travel community at Strathclyde
National Telford Institute
Planning and Health - Glasgow (External organisation)

More professional activities


Improved models for the impact of floods on transport infrastructure assets
Tubaldi, Enrico (Principal Investigator) Ferguson, Neil (Co-investigator) Patelli, Edoardo (Co-investigator)
15-Jan-2024 - 14-Jan-2025
The Development of a Hybrid Empirical-Expert Opinion Model of the Vulnerability of the Scottish Road Network to Flooding
Ferguson, Neil (Principal Investigator) Patelli, Edoardo (Co-investigator) Tubaldi, Enrico (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
Evaluating the benefit of structural health monitoring for improving bridge resilience against scour - National Centre for Resilience (NCR)
Tubaldi, Enrico (Principal Investigator) Ferguson, Neil (Co-investigator) Patelli, Edoardo (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2021
TRANSPORT SCOTLAND-SRRB Decision Support System based on “adaptive” Flood Level Markers
Tubaldi, Enrico (Principal Investigator) Ferguson, Neil (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2021
Developing Smart Cities in India
Bellingham, Richard (Principal Investigator) Beverland, Iain (Co-investigator) Ferguson, Neil (Co-investigator) Riccardi, Annalisa (Co-investigator) Rogerson, Robert (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2020
SFC GCRF Pump Priming - Cleaner Air for Kolkata
Bellingham, Richard (Principal Investigator) Beverland, Iain (Co-investigator) Ferguson, Neil (Co-investigator) Kelly, Nicolas (Co-investigator) Macdonald, Malcolm (Co-investigator) Rogerson, Robert (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2019

More projects

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Dr Neil Ferguson
Senior Lecturer
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Email: n.s.ferguson@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 3181