Interactive guide for specialist software

13 November 2007

Lucid has been commissioned by Network Rail to develop an interactive user guide to a specialist software package, the Route Drivability Tool (RDT). Developed by the human factors consultancy Human Engineering, the RDT allows signalling engineers and ergonomists to assess the impact of a signalling scheme design on the driver’s workload early on in the design process.

The features of the railway infrastructure, such as positioning of signals, can have a significant impact on train drivers’ workload. As high workload is associated with increased propensity to error, well designed signalling schemes help to improve both safety and performance of the railway.

Engineers can assess the workload implications of a proposed design by entering details of the infrastructure features into the RDT. Based on various human factors workload models, the tool calculates how the design impacts on the drivability of the route – for instance: is the driver expected to perform conflicting tasks?

The tool offers three levels of analysis: speed profiling, the timing and duration of tasks the driver would have to perform, and workload ratings.

The results are presented as graphic outputs which can be interpreted with guidance from Network Rail’s ergonomics team.

The interactive guide to the RDT will include a step-by-step demonstration of how to use the tool, as well as the rationale for using it and guidance for interpreting the results.

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