Technical Reports

Safety of High Speed Ground Transportation Systems - Human Factors Phase II: Design and Evaluation of Decision Aids for Control of High-Seed Trains: Experiments and Model

  • 01
  • Dec
  • 1996
AUTHOR: S. Askey, T. Sheridan
SUBJECT: High-Speed Passenger Rail, Human Factors
KEYWORDS: Human factors, transportation, high-speed trains, safety, human performance, workload, situation awareness, decision aids, displays, human-in-the-loop simulation, model-in-the-loop simulation
ABSTRACT: Although the speed of some guided ground transportation systems continues to increase, the reaction time and the sensory and information processing capacities of railroad personnel remain constant. This second report in a series examining critical human factors issues in future high-speed rail systems, describes the design and evaluation of computer-based decision aids to compensate for the increased demands on locomotive engineers. (The next report will explore increasing control automation.) Three concepts of aiding, referred to as preview, predictive, and advisory aiding, were integrated into two displays and compared with a conventional highspeed cab environment. Experimental evaluations were conducted on the high-speed-rail simulator developed at the Department of Transportation's Volpe Center for Human Factors Research. Results show that the decision aids improved safety by reducing both reaction times to emergency events and the need for emergency braking. Schedule adherence, station-stopping accuracy, and , with advisory aiding, energy consumption improved. Concerns that aiding may induce higher visual workoad were allayed both empirically and via subjective questionnaires, where the advanced displays were consistently rated lower on workload-related measures. A high-speed train locomotive engineer model was developed to evaluate decision aids in a less costly model-in-the-loop simulation. The findings of the human-in-the-loop evaluation were confirmed.