Meet the team - David McArthur

The Urban Big Data Centre brings together the expertise and experience of colleagues from all over the world. We'd like to introduce some of them in a series of informal profiles.

What is your job title at UBDC, and what does your role entail?  

I am Reader in Transport Studies. The job involves a wide range of activities, including: teaching  both undergraduate and postgraduate students on a variety of courses; supervising PhD students; supervising postdoctoral researchers; conducting research; and contributing to the administration of the centre.

What are you currently working on?

One of my main research projects at the moment is looking at how location data gathered by smartphone apps can be used to replace or supplement traditional sources of transport planning data.

Are there any subject areas you’d like to explore in more depth in the future?

I recently submitted a paper looking at whether the frequency with which different people are working from home depends on the quality of their internet connection. The COVID19 pandemic has had massive impacts on mobility and there are many interesting questions about what the changes are and whether they will persist. Digital footprint data could add a lot to our understanding of these changes.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I grew up in a small Scottish town called Stenhousemuir. I studied economics in both Glasgow and Edinburgh and completed my PhD at the Norwegian School of Economics while living in a small Norwegian town called Haugesund (famous for its pink town hall). After living in Oslo for a while after completing my PhD I moved to Glasgow to join the Urban Big Data Centre in 2014.

What do you like about living in Glasgow? 

I think Glasgow is a fascinating city, especially for anyone interested in urban studies and transport. It is a city of contrasts. It has some of the wealthiest areas in Scotland, and some of the poorest. Elements of the public transport system are excellent, and there is a massive motorway sundering the city. Glasgow has some of the most beautiful architecture you could hope to see, and probably some of the ugliest too. I love Neogothic architecture so naturally I am obsessed with the University of Glasgow’s main building.

What other interests do you have outside of work?

I watch way too much television. Coronation Street and Judge Judy are two particular favourites! When I’m not watching television I’m probably either gaming or reading. When I am outside, I usually can’t help but take photographs of interesting or defective transport infrastructure. My phone is mostly photos of cracked paving slabs, pavement parking, and uneven surfaces.

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