A human factors investigation into the unavailability of active warnings at railway level crossings

Gildersleeve, Matthew and Wullems, Christian (2012) A human factors investigation into the unavailability of active warnings at railway level crossings. In: 2012 Joint Rail Conference (JRC2012), 17-19 April 2012, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.


This paper discusses human factors issues of low cost railway level crossings in Australia. Several issues are discussed in this paper including safety at level railway crossings, human factors considerations associated with the unavailability of a warning device, and a conceptual model for how safety could be compromised at railway level crossings following prolonged or frequent unavailability.
The current paper summarises and extends pertinent literature that must be considered for effective interventions to improve safety and to advance our theoretical understanding of human behaviour at level crossings. Although the results of our research are not presented, we describe our experimental approach to progress the current lack of knowledge in this area. In particular we highlight where we can improve previous research methodology (independent & dependent variables) when investigating right-side failure at level crossings, which can produce results with greater validity and meaning. Our research aims to quantify risk to motorists at level crossings following right-side failure using a Human Reliability Assessment (HRA) method, supported by data collected using an advanced driving simulator. This method aims to identify human error within tasks and task units identified as part of the task analysis process. It is anticipated that by modelling driver behaviour the current study will be able to quantify human reliability. Such a risk assessment for the impact of right-side failure at level crossings is currently absent in the literature. Therefore it is crucial to offer quantification of success and failure of this intricate system. The task analysis allows human error identification for the precursors to risky driving to be achieved. If task analysis is not employed the error reduction method may be unsuitable and eventually unsuccessful.

Our aim is also to determine those contexts that allow the system to operate successfully with the smallest probability of human error. Human behaviour during complex tasks such as driving through a level crossing is fundamentally context bound. Therefore this study also aims to quantify those performance-shaping factors that may contribute to vehicle train collisions by highlighting changes in the task units and driver physiology. Finally we consider a number of variables germane to ensuring external validity of our results. Without this inclusion, such an analysis could seriously underestimate risk

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2018 22:33
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2022 00:30
Uncontrolled Keywords: railway level crossings; safety
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170202 Decision Making
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology > 520406 Sensory processes, perception and performance
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology > 520402 Decision making
40 ENGINEERING > 4099 Other engineering > 409999 Other engineering not elsewhere classified
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/34989

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