Rapid advancements in train control and in-cab technologies provide significant opportunities for rail operators to improve efficiency and enhance their operations. New technologies often provide elegant solutions to existing problems or new capabilities for the operator. However, new technologies may also represent a significant form of risk. Thus, it is important to balance the potential for significant improvement with justifiable concern about how the technology may unpredictably change the nature of the work. If a technology is designed and implemented without considering the substantive human factors concerns, that technology may lead to unintended consequences that can introduce safety issues and disrupt network performance. It is important to note that even a well-designed and beneficial technology may be rejected by the users who see it as a threat to their jobs, status or working conditions. This book discusses the issues surrounding rail technology and introduces a ’toolkit’ of human factors evaluation methods. The toolkit provides a practical and operationally focused set of methods that can be used by managers considering investing in technology, staff charged with implementing a technology, and consultants engaged to assist with the design and evaluation process. This toolkit can help to ensure that new rail technologies are thoughtfully designed, effectively implemented, and well received by users so that the significant investment associated with developing rail technologies is not wasted.
Dr Chris Bearman is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of South Australia and a Senior Research Associate at NASA Ames Research Center, USA. His work involves conducting industry-focused research in laboratory and field settings with the aim of creating results that have both a strong theoretical underpinning and a robust application to industry. Currently he is working on the FAA/NASA Next Generation Project which seeks to redesign the American Airspace System, as well as a number of Rail projects in Australia that examine issues concerned with the human factors implementation of new technologies. Dr Anjum Naweed is a Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Appleton Institute of Central Queensland University, Australia. He currently leads six research projects with the Australian Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Rail Innovation. His work is investigating the area of safety and security on topics involving train driver psychology, complex decision-making, knowledge representation, level crossing design, work health and safety, and participative processes at work. He was recently awarded the Body of Knowledge prize at the Asia-Pacific Simulation Training and Technology conference for best contribution to standards development, capture of best practice or contribution to the simulation community. Dr Jillian Dorrian is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of South Australia. She specializes in the area of human sleep, biological rhythms and performance. She has worked extensively with the Rail industry investigating sleep loss, workload, operational performance, safety and health. Her work has focused on understanding the issues related to safety and performance in train driving, particularly fatigue and self-awareness. She currently collaborates with the Australian CRC for Rail Innovation on a number of simulator research projects looking at knowledge representation, workplace culture and generating evidence-based guidelines for s
’This is not a beginner’s guide to Human Factors but then the rail industry is no longer a beginner. It is a technical book, rich in detail and insight, but also one that has itself been designed for Human Use. It is easy to read, being in equal part a railway book as much as it is a human factors one.’ Rail Professional, December 2013