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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor David Toll, BSc PhD DIC Eur Ing FICE CEng

Professor in the Department of Engineering
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42388
Room number: E370 (Higginson)

(email at


David Toll is a Professor in the Department of Engineering at Durham University, UK. He also has the following roles:

  • Chair of Technical Committee TC106 on Unsaturated Soils of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE)
  • Chair, Joint Technical Committee JTC2 of the Federation of International Geo-Engineering Societies (representing ISRM, ISSMGE, IAEG and IGS) (2005-2017)
  • Kwang-Hua Chair Professor at Tongji University, China
  • Vice-Chair, British Geotechnical Association
  • Chair, Institution of Civil Engineers North East (2013-14)
  • Chair, Northern Geotechnical Group (the regional group of the British Geotechnical Association and part of ICE North East) (2009-2014)

David Toll's research encompasses two highly relevant areas of civil engineering: (i) the engineering behaviour of unsaturated and tropical soils and (ii) the application of information technology to geotechnical engineering. The primary focus for his work on unsaturated soils is to find engineering solutions for natural hazards, particularly landslides. Much of his current work examines the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure through field and laboratory studies and numerical modelling. His research in information technology involves work on data exchange and standards, BIM, data acquisition and computer control systems.

He was Chair of the Scientific Committee for the European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering held in Edinburgh in 2015. He has been a member of the organising/technical committee for many international conferences on unsaturated soils: Singapore, 2000; Recife, 2002; Weimar, 2003; Trento, 2005; Nanjing, 2007; Barcelona, 2010; Pattaya, 2011; Naples 2012; Sydney 2014; Lisbon 2020 and organised the First European Conference on Unsaturated Soils in Durham, 2008. He also organises the conference series on Information Technology in Geo-Engineering with conferences in Shanghai in 2010 and Durham in 2014.

He has twice been a member of the editorial advisory board of Geotechnique and been member of the Editorial Panels for two Geotechnique Symposia in Print (2011 and 2013). He was the founding editor for the international journal, Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, published by Springer, and remains a member of the editorial board. He has been a member of the editorial boards of the Quarterly Journal for Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology and the Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering

He is Director of the Sustainable Infrastructure Research Challenge for the Department of Engineering. He has been Director of Education, Design Coordinator, Accreditation Coordinator and International Coordinator for the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences. He teaches Geotechnical Engineering and Geomatics on the undergraduate MEng course in Engineering.

Research Groups

Department of Engineering

  • Sustainable Infrastructure

Research Projects

Department of Archaeology

  • Reducing Disaster Risk to Life and Livelihoods by Evaluating the Seismic Safety of Kathmandu's Historic Urban Infrastructure

Research Interests

  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Engineering geology
  • Information technology

Selected Publications

Edited book

  • Winter, M.G., Smith, D.M., Eldred, P.J.L. & Toll, D.G. (2015). Geotechnical Engineering for Infrastructure and Development, XVI European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Edinburgh. London: ICE Publishing.
  • Toll, D.G., Zhu, H., Osman, A., Coombs, W, Li, X. & Rouainia, M. (2014). Information Technology in Geo-Engineering. 2nd International Conference on Information Technology in Geo-Engineering. The Netherlands: IOS Press (Millpress).
  • Huat, B.B.K, Toll, D.G. & Prasad, A. (2012). Handbook of Tropical Residual Soils Engineering. CRC Press, Leiden.
  • Toll, D.G., Zhu, H. & Li, X. (2010). Information Technology in Geo-Engineering. 1st International Conference on Information Technology in Geo-Engineering, Shanghai. The Netherlands: IOS Press (Millpress).
  • Liong, S.Y., Phoon, K.K. & Toll, D.G. (2007). Climate Change: Modelling, Impacts and Adaptions. Singapore: Research Publishing Services.
  • Toll, D.G. & Chen, Z.Y. (2007). Rock Mechanics Data: Representation and Standardisation. Proc. Specialized Session S02 of 11th Congress of the International Society for Rock Mechanics, Lisbon.
  • Toll, D.G. (2006). Proc. Geo-Singapore 2006: International Conference on Geotechnical Engineering. Singapore: Ci-Premier.

Chapter in book

  • Toll, D.G. (2012). The Behaviour of Unsaturated Soils. In A Handbook of Tropical Residual Soil Engineering. Huat, B.B.K., Toll, D.G. & Prasad, A. London: Taylor and Francis. Chapter 4: 117-145.
  • Toll, D.G. (2012). Tropical Soils. In ICE Manual of Geotechnical Engineering. Burland, J., Chapman, T., Skinner, H. & Brown, M. London: Institution of Civil Engineers. Chapter 30: 341-361.

Journal Article

  • Liu, Guanshi, Toll, D. G., Kong, Lingwei & Asquith, J. D. (2020). Matric Suction and Volume Characteristics of Compacted Clay Soil under Drying and Wetting Cycles. Geotechnical Testing Journal 43(2): 464-479.
  • Mendes, J., Gallipoli, D., Tarantino, A. & Toll, D. (2019). On the development of an ultra-high-capacity tensiometer capable of measuring water tensions to 7 MPa. Géotechnique 69(6): 560-564.
  • Coningham, R.A.E., Acharya, K.P. Barclay, C.P., Barclay, R., Davis, C.E., Graham, C., Hughes, P.N., Joshi, A., Kelly, L., Khanal, S., Kilic, A., Kinnaird, T., Kunwar, R.B., Kumar, A., Maskey, P.N., Lafortune-Bernard, A., Lewer, N., McCaughie, D., Mirnig, N., Roberts, A., Sarhosis, V., Schmidt, A., Simpson, I.A., Sparrow, T., Toll, D.G., Tully, B., Weise, K., Wilkinson, S. & Wilson, A. (2019). Reducing Disaster Risk to Life and Livelihoods by Evaluating the Seismic Safety of Kathmandu’s Historic Urban Infrastructure: enabling an interdisciplinary pilot. Journal of the British Academy 7(2): 45-82.
  • Toll, David G, Rahim, M Syazwan Md, Karthikeyan, M & Tsaparas, Ilias (2019). Soil–atmosphere interactions for analysing slopes in tropical soils in Singapore. Environmental Geotechnics 6(6): 361-372.
  • Tang, A. M., Hughes, P. N., Dijkstra, T. A., Askarinejad, A., Brenčič, M., Cui, Y. J., Diez, J. J., Firgi, T., Gajewska, B., Gentile, F., Grossi, G., Jommi, C., Kehagia, F., Koda, E., ter Maat, H. W., Lenart, S., Lourenco, S., Oliveira, M., Osinski, P., Springman, S. M., Stirling, R., Toll, D. G. & Van Beek, V. (2018). Atmosphere–vegetation–soil interactions in a climate change context; impact of changing conditions on engineered transport infrastructure slopes in Europe. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology 51(2): 156-168.
  • Ali Rahman, Z., Toll, D. G. & Gallipoli, D. (2018). Critical state behaviour of weakly bonded soil in drained state. Geomechanics and Geoengineering 13(4): 233-245.
  • Tinoco, Joaquim, Gomes Correia, A., Cortez, Paulo & Toll, David G. (2018). Data-Driven Model for Stability Condition Prediction of Soil Embankments Based on Visual Data Features. Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering 32(4): 04018027.
  • Tinoco, Joaquim, Gomes Correia, A., Cortez, Paulo & Toll, David G. (2018). Stability Condition Identification of Rock and Soil Cutting Slopes Based on Soft Computing. Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering 32(2): 04017088.
  • Toll, D. G. & Ali Rahman, Z. (2017). Critical state shear strength of an unsaturated artificially cemented sand. Géotechnique 67(3): 208-215.
  • Mendes, J. & Toll, D.G. (2016). Influence of initial water content on the mechanical behaviour of an unsaturated sandy clay soil. International Journal of Geomechanics 16(6): D4016005.
  • Winter, Mike G., Smith, Derek M., Eldred, Peter J. L., Toll, David G. & Chrimes, Mike (2016). Review of the XVI European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Geotechnical Engineering 169(5): 455.
  • D’Onza, F., Wheeler, S.J., Gallipoli, D., Barrera Bucio, M., Hofmann, M., Lloret-Cabot, M., Lloret Morancho, A., Mancuso, C., Pereira, J.-M., Romero Morales, E., Sánchez, M., Solowski, W., Tarantino, A., Toll, D.G. & Vassallo, R. (2015). Benchmarking selection of parameter values for the Barcelona basic model. Engineering Geology 196: 99-118.
  • Toll, D.G. (2015). California Bearing Ratio tests on a lateritic gravel from Kenya. Transportation Geotechnics 5: 59-67.
  • Toll, D.G., Lourenço, S.D.N. & Mendes, J. (2013). Advances in suction measurements using high suction tensiometers. Engineering Geology 165: 29-37.
  • Cassar, J., Winter, M.G., Marker, B.R., Bromhead, E.N., Smith, J.W.N., Toll, D.G., Walton, N.R.G., Entwisle, D.C. & Dijkstra, T.A. (2013). Introduction to the Stone Cycle and the Conservation of Historic Buildings. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology 46(4): 363-366.
  • Toll, D.G., Mendes, J., Hughes, P.N., Glendinning, S. & Gallipoli, D. (2012). Climate Change and the Role of Unsaturated Soil Mechanics. Geotechnical Engineering 43(1): 76-82.
  • Lourenco, S.D.N., Gallipoli, D., Augarde, C.E., Toll, D.G., Fisher, P.C. & Congreve, A. (2012). Formation and evolution of water menisci in unsaturated granular media. Geotechnique 62 (3): 193-199.
  • Lourenço, S.D.N., Gallipoli, D., Toll, D.G., Augarde, C.E. & Evans, F. (2011). A new procedure for the determination of the Soil Water Retention Curves by continuous drying using high suction tensiometers. Canadian Geotechnical Journal 48(2): 327-335.
  • Tarantino, A., Gallipoli, D., Augarde, C.E., De Gennaro, V., Gomez, R., Laloui, L., Mancuso, C., McCloskey, G., Munoz, J., Pereira, J-M., Peron, H., Pisoni, G., Romero, E., Raveendiraraj, A., Rojas, J.C., Toll, D.G., Tombolato, S. & Wheeler, S. (2011). Benchmark of experimental techniques for measuring and controlling suction. Géotechnique 61(4): 303–312.
  • Toll, D.G., Lourenço, S.D.N. Mendes, J. Gallipoli, D. Evans, F.D., Augarde, C.E. , Cui, Y.J. Tang, A.M. Rojas Vidovic, J.C. Pagano, L. Mancuso, C. Zingariello, C. & Tarantino, A. (2011). Soil suction monitoring for landslides and slopes. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology 44: 23-33.

Conference Paper

  • Mendes, J., Gallipoli, D., Toll, D. G. & Tarantino, A. (2018), First Saturation and Resaturation of High Capacity Tensiometers with 1.5 MPa High Air Entry Value (HAEV) Ceramic Filters, PanAm Unsaturated Soils 2017. 514.
  • Tinoco, J., Gomes Correia, A., Cortez, P. & Toll, D. (2017), Data-driven Classification Approaches for Stability Condition Prediction of Soil Cutting Slopes, 19th Int. Conf. on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. Seoul, Korea.
  • Stirling, S., Helm, P., Glendinning, S., Asquith, J., Hughes, P. & Toll, D. (2017), Deterioration of geotechnical infrastructure: the influence of asset aging through environmental cycling, 19th Int. Conf. on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. Seoul, Korea.

Edited Journal

  • Toll, D.G. & Caicedo, B. (2015). Special Issue on Lateritic and Tropical Geomaterials in Construction of Transportation Infrastructures. Transportation Geotechnics, 5 Elsevier.

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Mechanics: Geotechnical engineering i.e. the engineering properties of the ground with relevance to roads, landslides, foundations
  • Geological hazards: Landslides, particularly rainfall-induced landslides in tropical areas
  • Computers: International Data Exchange (XML)
  • Asia (excluding Middle East): Tropical Soil Engineering with experience in Singapore, Malaysia, China