Safety and behaviour in rail traffic

The research area Safety and behaviour focuses on the role of humans in the railway system, including the interaction between humans and technology. With the aid of advanced simulators, the research is conducted in a safe and realistic environment.

Rail traffic is conducted in a defined transport system with continuous interaction between people who communicate with and via various technical systems. An example of such a system is the signal safety system, which, with the transition to ERTMS, involves a more automated procedure to ensure that a trafficked track is free of obstacles.

At the traffic centre, train operations are carried out in collaboration between many people in different professional roles. This is done with the support of tools, for example for monitoring the system's technical functions and sending information to operators and fault repair personnel at contractors.

A current research issue for traffic management is the work situation of train dispatchers. Today's socio-technical systems place varying demands on the workload of train dispatchers and their ability to have a good perception of situations. The projects in this area develop and test different forms of instruments that can be used in real environments and the aim is to develop an optimised load that both improves the train dispatcher's work situation and increases the robustness of the systems with different types of incidents. Often the activities must be conducted under time pressure.

For the driver, the transition to ERTMS means that the signalling system is integrated into the driver's environment and thus the interface between the driver and the train-track system. VTI's research aims, among other things, to take into account the driver's need for training for the transition to ERTMS, but also specific cases and rare events that are difficult to train for in reality. More knowledge of driver behaviour and the working environment is also needed for the physical design of vehicles and infrastructure and the planning of timetables.

A further important focus of the work in this research area concerns the prevention of unauthorised track access, for example through design (various types of intrusion protection) and information.

Research areas

  • Our research areas in safety and behaviour:
  • Safety in the railway system
  • Simulator-assisted train driver training
  • Driveability analyses
  • Train management

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