Empty buses and angry crofters topic of discussion at RGU lecture

David Gray, Professor of Transport Policy at RGU, will explore the issue of transport and journey-making in Scotland’s remote, rural and island communities when he delivers the second professorial lecture in the university’s 2017/2018 series.

David GrayHe is one of a number of the university’s leading academics from various disciplines who will discuss a range of topics in the lecture series which takes place at RGU’s Garthdee campus over the coming months.

In his lecture, Professor Gray will reflect on 20 years of research in the field considering issues such as the relationship between remoteness, accessibility and car dependence and whether green transport is a city luxury in areas where transport is a carbon intensive lifeline. He will also discuss empty buses, austerity and how to get better value from rural public transport.

He will conclude his lecture by considering the relationship between transport and changing ways of life in remote and island communities. In particular he will discuss the impact of high fuel prices and one angry crofter’s prediction that rising pump prices would be “more effective than the Duke of Sutherland in clearing the Highlands”.

David commented: “I will be encouraging audience interaction in my lecture. I will be asking people to tell me what they know - or what they think they know - about transport issues in rural areas and then challenging some of their preconceptions.”

An acknowledged expert in his field, Professor Gray is a member of the Highlands and Islands Regional Transport Partnership and was seconded to the Scottish Government as an advisor on Scotland’s National Transport Strategy as well as on rural transport to the UK Commission for Integrated Transport.

It was recently confirmed that Professor Gray and a research team from RGU will lead the G-PaTRA project in collaboration with partners from across Europe to explore green transport issues in rural areas in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. The project, which will run until 2021, has received funding from the European Union Interreg North Sea Region programme to support its green mobility priority.

The lecture will take place in the Sir Ian Wood Building on Wednesday, February 7 at 6pm and will be followed by refreshments. It is free to attend and open to everyone. Anyone who would like to attend should email


Release by Rob Smith
Communications Officer
Press and Media Enquiries