Technical Reports

Using Cognitive Task Analysis to Inform Issues in Human Systems Integration in Railroad Operations

  • 23
  • May
  • 2013
AUTHOR: Emilie Roth, Hadar Rosenhand, and Jordan Multer
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-13/31
SUBJECT: Human Factors, Positive Train Control
KEYWORDS: Human Factors, Cognitive Task Analysis, Human Systems Integration, HSI, Task Analysis, Locomotive Engineer, Conductor, Dispatcher, Roadway Worker, Displays, PTC, Energy Management Systems, ECP Brakes
ABSTRACT: U. S. Railroad operations are undergoing rapid changes involving the introduction of new technologies such as positive train control (PTC), energy management systems (EMS), and electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes in the locomotive cab. To help ensure these and other new technologies are optimally designed for safe and efficient use, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is interested in introducing Human Systems Integration (HSI) to the railroad industry. HSI is a systematic, organization-wide approach to implementing new technologies and modernizing existing systems that can increase the likelihood of successful deployment as well as user acceptance. This report provides guidance to the industry pertaining to the need for HSI in the technology acquisition process, and more specifically, how to use Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) methods and results as part of the HSI process. It draws on examples from prior FRA-sponsored CTAs for locomotive engineers, conductors, dispatchers, and roadway workers to illustrate the kinds of insights that can be drawn from performing a CTA when introducing new technologies into railroad operations. The report also provides a starting point for the industry with respect to identifying likely emerging issues that need to be explored as part of the technology introduction process.
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