Marcus Young is Research Fellow in GIS and Transport Engineering Data within the Transportation Research Group. He is interested in transport geography and GIS, and primarily works using open source tools, including R, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, and QGIS. His research interests centre on the application of spatial analysis and data analytics methods and techniques to investigate issues relating to transportation, primarily focussed on public transport and active travel. Marcus also teaches on several modules of Ulster University’s PgDip/MSc programme in Geographic Information Systems. Prior to moving to academia, he had a successful career in information technology and worked as a Computer Officer at the University of Cambridge for 11 years.
- Application of GIS methods and techniques to research relating to public transport and active travel.
- Development of open source tools for transport planning applications.
- Rail demand modelling and appraisal with a focus on developing improved aggregate models to forecast demand for new railway stations.
I am currently a researcher on the following projects:
- The Department for Transport funded Solent Future Transport Zone project (Theme 1: Passenger Mobility). I am developing an interactive dashboard to explore traffic data from a range of sources. A version of this dashboard containing the DfT Road Traffic Statistics for the whole of GB is available online: GB Traffic Data Explorer
- An Ordnance Survey funded project to support active travel with better data, working towards the development of a Routable Active Travel Infrastructure Network (RATIN).
- A FCDO funded project to develop an open source routable rail network dataset for Africa.
Current PhD Students
I provide support with GIS and data analytics to Undergraduate and Masters students with their individual or group projects and dissertations.
I have worked as a casual e-tutor and lecturer on the PgDip/MSc in Geographical Information Systems at the University of Ulster since 2010, and am currently involved with the following modules:
- EGM715 – Web-based GIS
- EGM717 – GIS Databases
I also develop learning materials, tutorials and take part in workshops, primarily related to use of open source GIS and data analysis tools. Some examples are:
External roles and responsibilities
I have had a rather convoluted career path to this point. My first degree was in Aquatic Biology (from Aberystwyth University) and I initially worked in the water industry in a number of scientific and regulatory roles. I then re-trained in IT, became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, and worked in various IT roles at the University of Cambridge. I began as an IT Technician in the Geography department, moved on to become IT Manager at Cambridge Programme for Industry (now known as Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership), and in my final role was a Computer Officer in the University Computing Service, responsible for the Small Institution Support Service.
While at Cambridge, I studied part-time via distance learning for an MSc in GIS at Ulster University and my research project won the part-time student award for “Outstanding Contribution to GIS”. A few years later, with a move to Devon in between, I started my PhD at the University of Southampton in 2014. My research focussed on developing improved aggregate models to forecast demand for new local railway stations by incorporating probabilistic station catchments defined using station choice models. The potential of the models I developed to produce more robust station demand forecasts was recognised by transport practitioners at the national level, with work completed for the Welsh Government to assess the expected demand at 12 proposed new station locations.
This was followed by Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding to convert my work into an automated rail demand forecasting tool hosted on the Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI). This was then further developed into the open source Station Demand Forecasting Tool which is used on a regular basis to produce station demand forecasts for consultancy clients.
Since 2010 I have been an e-tutor for several modules on the distance-learning PGDip/MSc in GIS run by Ulster University.