Technical Reports

Rail Crew Resource Management (CRM): The Business Case for CRM Training in the Railroad Industry

  • 01
  • Sep
  • 2007
AUTHOR: Stephen S. Roop, Curtis A. Morgan, Tobin B. Kyte, Winfred
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-07/21
SUBJECT: Crew Resource Management (CRM)
KEYWORDS: Crew resource management, CRM, railroad safety, situational awareness, organizational culture, teams, teaming, crew, training methods
ABSTRACT: Crew Resource Management (CRM) is a human factors training process that has been employed in the commercial aviation industry for over 25 years. During that time period, CRM has been credited with contributing to a marked decrease in human factors-caused accidents. Military teams, commercial shipping crews, surgical teams, nuclear power operators, and offshore drilling crews have all since employed forms of CRM training to address relative increases in human factors accidents compared to mechanical- or equipment-based accident causes. This study uses utility analysis to quantify the anticipated benefits to the railroad industry if CRM training were to be more broadly adopted. The research team tested the utility analysis model using collected airline industry data and then applied it to actual and estimated data from the railroad industry. The study found that CRM training can be expected to have net positive benefits at both the industry and individual railroad level by reducing the overall costs associated with human factors accidents. This result was derived by taking into account mean values for the number of human factors accidents, number trained, reported costs of accidents, and costs of training. Additional benefits from improved crew coordination and cost savings from reduced litigation, while not quantified in this study, would add to the overall benefits of sustained railroad CRM training programs.

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