Using cognitive artefacts to aid decision-making in railway signalling operations

Charles, Rebecca (2014) Using cognitive artefacts to aid decision-making in railway signalling operations. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis presents work undertaken in conjunction with Network Rail in the area of planning and re-planning in railway environments. It aimed to study a real world signalling environment to understand the strategies signallers use when re-planning and how decision tools can be designed and integrated into existing signalling environments to support proactive planning.

The main research focused on two case studies: A graphical tool developed by signallers to assist in managing station areas; and the rollout and uptake of a graphical time based planning tool. The first case study consisted of interviews and observations investigating how signallers currently plan (in and around station areas) and what existing tools and artefacts are used, followed by an experiment to compare different tools. It was found that signallers who were using a graphical based tool to assist in managing station areas were able manage disruption more efficiently than signallers using a list based tool.

The second case study investigated an existing electronic tool called the Train Graph that had already been implemented. Interviews, observations and questionnaires were used to gather data on the opinions and general uptake of the Train Graph. Trust and prior experience were found to be the significant driver of end user behaviour and uptake of the technology.

One key output of this research was a tangible framework that can be used by Network Rail to guide design and implementation of future decision support tools and artefacts. The framework considers the artefact design and various inputs including task characteristics and organisational context as an indicator of performance. If used at an early stage of product development the framework and associated guidelines can be used to influence system design and establish how key implementation considerations impact upon user uptake and trust of the design.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Sharples, S.C.
Wilson, J.R.
Keywords: Rail, Signalling, Decision-making, Cognitive artefacts, Technology acceptance
Subjects: T Technology > TF Railroad engineering and operation
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 14264
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2015 11:46
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 07:24

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