As part of their functions as train drivers, control centre operators or rail traffic managers , humans in the railway system interact with several technical interfaces – both on board the train and in the control centres. The effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which employees perform their tasks affect the safety and efficiency of the railway system and are in turn affected by various factors related to the interactions between human, machine and environment.
Optimum interaction between humans and systems requires appropriate consideration of users’ capabilities and skills during system development. This also applies to the railway sector. User requirements regarding function, design and operation of the respective interfaces must therefore be analysed and reviewed by interim results. The RailSET® – Railway Simulation Environment for Train Drivers and Operators – laboratory makes a substantial contribution to all levels of such a human-centred development process. This rail-specific simulation environment enables a realistic representation of the context of use found in the workplaces of train drivers and control centre operators. Hereby, influencing factors can be modified as required and their subsequent effects on humans examined.
The train driver workplace for study participants is equipped with an original control desk from a railcar which is integrated into a closed cab. Subjects in the driver’s seat experience a fully simulated route. Trackside elements (such as signals and level crossings) are visualised along the track. Simulation according to the under-lying control command signalling and safety technology can de-pict both regular and failure modes, enabling to study different operational scenarios without affecting real rail traffic or creating hazards. These scenarios allow for evaluations of new or existing information and assistance systems or design options for interactive systems at the train driver‘s workplace, as well as influences wielded by different protection systems.
Experimental facilities are complemented by a simulated workplace for control centre operators.