Technical Reports

Visualizing Railroad Operations: A Tool for Planning and Monitoring Railroad Traffic

  • 01
  • Jan
  • 2009
AUTHOR: Mary T. Lee and Jordan Multer
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-09/01
SUBJECT: Human Factors
KEYWORDS: String line diagrams, planning software, railroad operations, user-centered design, technology transfer, human factors
ABSTRACT: This report provides an overview of the development and technology transfer of the Railroad Traffic Planner application, a visualization tool with string line diagrams that show train positions over time. The Railroad Traffic Planner provides support for scheduling activities and also includes near-real-time position information for trains and maintenance vehicles with associated global positioning system tracking devices installed. One objective of this project was to research the potential for this type of visualization tool to improve safety and productivity in the railroad industry. Another objective was to demonstrate the process of technology transfer by bringing this tool to additional railroads and other interested parties in the railroad industry. While some challenges were encountered during this project, many potential benefits of string line tools were identified. Recommendations for people interested in developing, transferring, and using systems like the Railroad Traffic Planner are offered.

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