Supporting Railroad Roadway Worker Communications with a Wireless Handheld Computer: Volume I - Usability for the Roadway Worker
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-04/13.i
KEYWORDS: cognitive task analysis, data link communications, decision-making, intelligent railroad systems,
ABSTRACT: Communications in current railroad operations rely heavily on voice communications. Radio congestion impairs roadway workers’ ability to communicate effectively with dispatchers at the Central Traffic Control Center and has adverse consequences for the safety and efficiency of railroad operations. A prototype communications device was developed for roadway workers to request train and territory information and to request track protection from the dispatcher. The device uses a wireless data link to send and receive information in digital form. The data link device was designed to obtain real-time information about train location without assistance from the dispatcher. The report describes the development of this device and a usability evaluation to identify safety and productivity issues that must be addressed for successful implementation.
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