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Optimizing Rail Signaler Disruption Management in the German Railway System

Thomas-Friedrich, Birte and Michaelsen, Raimo and Grippenkoven, Jan Daniel (2018) Optimizing Rail Signaler Disruption Management in the German Railway System. In: Proceedings of the 3rd German Workshop on Rail Human Factors, pp. 77-86. 3rd German Workshop on Rail Human Factors, 17.-18. Apr. 2018, Braunschweig, Deutschland. ISBN 978-3-937655-45-1.

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Signalers have the task of controlling train traffic, setting points and signals and monitoring the functioning of the interlocking. In case of a disruption, the signaler first has to gain a sufficient understanding of the situation and then deal with the disruption to ensure the safety of the railway system as well as a minimal amount of delays. Thus, actions that have to be completed during a disruption are often time sensitive. In addition to handling the disruption, the signaler has to maintain control of the rest of their area of responsibility. Together, this can result in a highly demanding work situation during disruptions. As follows, the goal of the present study was to identify ways in which disruption management can be made less demanding. Furthermore, ways in which the signaler can gain an understanding of the disruption faster were to be identified. As a first step, the process of disruption management was analyzed in depth in cooperation with students of the University of applied sciences in Erfurt. Six typical disruptions were chosen for the analysis. The disruptions were chosen either due to their resulting safety risk, the resulting workload for the signaler or the frequency with which they occur. Data for the analysis was collected three ways: The current rule book used in Germany was analyzed as well as documents used in the training of signalers. In addition, focus groups with signalers were conducted. The analysis resulted in process diagrams that show all tasks a signaler has to complete during a disruption. In a second step, difficulties during disruption management were identified based on the process diagrams. Results identified the high amount of communication needed during the handling of a disruption as one of the main difficulties leading to a high workload. In addition, the process of giving train drivers written orders requires a lot of work and communication. With regard to the signaler having to understand the situation during a disruption quickly and easily, main problems were identified with the design of alarms leading to difficulties with identifying disruptions. In a last step, several countermeasures to minimize difficulties during disruption management were proposed, building on a new and usable interface for electronic interlockings. The countermeasures aim to optimize the process of identifying and managing disruptions, with the overall goal to increase usability and make disruption management easier and more efficient.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/119765/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Optimizing Rail Signaler Disruption Management in the German Railway System
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Thomas-Friedrich, BirteBirte.Thomas (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Michaelsen, RaimoFachhochschule ErfurtUNSPECIFIED
Grippenkoven, Jan DanielJan.Grippenkoven (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:April 2018
Journal or Publication Title:Proceedings of the 3rd German Workshop on Rail Human Factors
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Page Range:pp. 77-86
EditorsEmailEditor's ORCID iD
Naumann, Anjaanja.naumann@dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Keywords:Disruption Management, rail signaling, usability, alarm design, user interface
Event Title:3rd German Workshop on Rail Human Factors
Event Location:Braunschweig, Deutschland
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:17.-18. Apr. 2018
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:Traffic Management (old)
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V VM - Verkehrsmanagement
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - Next Generation Railway Systems III (old)
Location: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Transportation Systems
Institute of Transportation Systems > Human Factors
Deposited By: Thomas-Friedrich, Birte
Deposited On:08 Jun 2018 11:17
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 20:17

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