Technical Reports

Advanced Train Control System Evaluation

  • 01
  • Oct
  • 1992
AUTHOR: George I. Kuehn
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: FRA/ORD-92/32
SUBJECT: Evaluation
KEYWORDS: ATCS Display, Alternative Display, Study
ABSTRACT: This study was an evaluation of whether an Advanced Train Control System (ATCS) helped, hindered or was neutral with respect to the train handling and operating rule observance of locomotive engineers. Thirty engineers were randomly assigned to three groups representing the use of (1) an ATCS display, (2) an alternative display, and (3) conventional track warrants with a printed track profile. The performance of the subjects was then assessed as they operated the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Research and Locomotive Evaluator/Simulator (RALES) located at the I IT Research Institute (IITRI). The traditional paper warrant and alternative display groups had speed violations while the ATCS display group had none. An apparently concomitant result was that the ATCS group produced a significant reduction in fuel consumption over the conventional paper warrant group. No ATCS group member technically violated a slow order while members of the other two groups displayed a total of 9 of these failures (4 in one group, 5 in the other). Two slow order violations would have been produced by the ATCS group, but these were prevented by the penalty brake application of the ATCS system. While the ATCS group did not produce significantly more in-train force errors (run outs) than the paper warrant group, they did post significantly more of these errors than the alternative display group. There were no significant differences between groups in number of failures to blow the horn at crossings. No subject in any group failed to respond to a stop signal.

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