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Cognitive and Collaborative Demands of Freight Conductor Activities: Results and Implications of a Cognitive Task Analysis.
  • Published Date:
    2011-09-19
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-148.85 KB]


Details:
  • Resource Type:
  • NTL Classification:
    AGR-SAFETY AND SECURITY-SAFETY AND SECURITY ; NTL-RAIL TRANSPORTATION-Rail Safety ; NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Rail Safety ; NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Human Factors ;
  • Abstract:
    This paper reports the results of a cognitive task analysis (CTA) that examined the cognitive and collaborative demands placed on conductors and the knowledge and skills that experienced conductors have developed that enable them to operate safely and efficiently. A secondary aim of the CTA was to understand the implications of the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008 on the role of the freight conductor, specifically the mandate for conductor certification and implementation of positive train control (PTC). Data was collected through a combination of field observations, phone interviews and on-site focus groups with experienced conductors, locomotive engineers, trainers, and training managers. A primary finding is that conductors and locomotive engineers operate as a joint cognitive system (Woods and Hollnagel, 2006). They not only participate jointly in monitoring outside the window, they serve to fill-in each other's knowledge gaps, and participate jointly in planning activities, problem-solving, and identifying and mitigating potential risk. The CTA addresses the issue of how new technologies, such as PTC, are likely to impact the role of conductors in the future by laying out the multiple ways in which conductors contribute to safe and efficient train operation and contrasts this with the anticipated features of PTC. The CTA also uncovered a variety of knowledge and skills that distinguish experienced conductors from less experienced ones. These findings suggest an opportunity to potentially accelerate building conductor expertise by providing insight to future training methods.
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