December 23, 2013

Meet Callum Gray, Statistics Summer Scholar 2013-2014

Every year, the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland offers summer scholarships to a number of students so they can work with our staff on real-world projects. We’ll be profiling the 2013-2014 summer scholars on Stats Chat. Callum is working with Dr Ian Tuck on a project titled Probability of encountering a bus.  

Callum (right) explains:

“If you encounter a bus on a journey, you are likely to be exposed to higher levels of pollution. I am trying to find the probability of encountering a bus and how many you will encounter when you travel from place A to place B, taking into account variables such as the time of day and mode of transport.


“This research is useful because it will give us more of an understanding about the impact that buses have on our daily exposure to pollution. we can use this information to plan journeys and learn more about an issue that is becoming more and more apparent.

“I was born in Auckland and have lived here my whole life. I just finished my third year of a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science conjoint majoring in Accounting, Finance, and Statistics, which I will finish at
the end of 2014.

“Statistics appeals to me because it is used everyday in conjunction with many other areas. It is very useful to know in a lot of workplaces, and it is interesting because it has a lot of real-life applications.

“I am going to Napier for Christmas and Rhythm and Vines for New Year. In the rest of my spare time, I will be playing cricket and golf, as well as hanging out with friends.”




Atakohu Middleton is an Auckland journalist with a keen interest in the way the media uses/abuses data. She happens to be married to a statistician. See all posts by Atakohu Middleton »


  • avatar
    Nick Iversen

    I’d have thought that diesel pollution was caused by trucks, vans, and SUVs rather than buses.

    4 years ago

  • avatar
    Iain McGlinchy

    Apart from a few very specific locations, such as the urban canyons around Queens St, diesel buses are not especially important as a source of air pollution in Auckland. There are only around 2000 buses in Auckland and they tend to be fairly recent and so built to modern emissions standards. In contrast there are some 25,000 heavy trucks which are generally older and less well maintained (buses, while not exactly perfect at least have contracts with Auckland Transport that require them to be maintained and a vocal public who write in to complain about them).

    So good luck with your project. It sounds an interesting statistical challenge, but if it is air quality you are worried about, personally I would be much more worried about encountering a truck.

    4 years ago