This study for the Scottish Office Industry Department involved the construction of a model which could be used to assess how changing the subsidy provided to Calmac impacts upon the economy of the Western Isles. The study involved extensive fieldwork of transport costs (and in particular ferry costs), and how important changes in such costs would be for firms' output and employment. The final output was a model to enable the estimation of the impact on the islands (in terms of employment and migration) of different scenarios in terms of ferry subsidies. The modelling component incorporates input-output analysis as well as scenario modelling. The impact of improved ferry services on local economic development This study was undertaken for the Scottish Office Industry Department in association with the Highlands & Islands Enterprise Network, set out to qualify the impacts on the local island economies of Mull and Gigha arising from changes in the quality of ferry services on Vatersay arising from the construction of a causeway linking the island to Barra. To quantify the impacts of the changes to the ferry services a large scale survey of visitors to the islands of Mull and Gigha was undertaken as well as a survey of 50 local businesses. Data from these surveys was combined with traffic volume information for the routes concerned and for the Western Isles ferry network to model the impact of the improvements and estimate the economic impact.