Literature Review on Cognitive Impacts of Cab Warning Systems and Train Control Technologies

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  • Cab warning systems and train control technologies provide alarms to inform train operators of dangerous situations and enforce speed and movement restrictions to avoid or mitigate negative consequences. While these systems can enhance safety as the last resort of safety control, they may have adverse cognitive impacts on train operators. This article reviews publicly published articles and reports that analyzed human factors issues of in-cab technologies. The reviewed technologies include, but are not limited to, cab signaling systems, automatic train control systems, anti-collision devices, train operators’ vigilance systems, and train operators’ reminder devices. The findings demonstrate that these technologies can cause a variety of human factors issues, including over-load or under-load, over-reliance on the system, complacency, loss of situation awareness, mode confusion, distraction, and automatic responding. To reduce the potential negative impacts related to the design and usability of in-cab technologies on train operators, the authors recommend employing the human reliability analysis and the human-in-the-loop processes to better understand the impacts of in-cab warning systems on train operators, identify the contextual factors influencing the train operators’ performance, and develop strategies to mitigate such human-induced risks.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International