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Future Train Traffic Control: Development and deployment of new principles and systems in train traffic control
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Division of Visual Information and Interaction. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computerized Image Analysis and Human-Computer Interaction.
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The train traffic control system of the future requires new solutions and strategies in order to better meet tomorrow’s demands and goals. Uppsala University and Trafikverket have been collaborating for several years in research regarding train traffic control and how to improve traffic controllers’ support systems and working environment. At an early stage in the collaboration studies and analysis of important aspects of the traffic controller’s tasks, strategies, decision making, use of information and support systems were undertaken. This research resulted in new control paradigms, from control by exception to control by replanning. By using this paradigm we developed and designed prototype systems and interfaces that could better meet future goals and contribute to more optimal use of infrastructure capacity. Based on this research, a new operational traffic control system called STEG was developed in an iterative and user-centred design process. The system was deployed and tested operatively at a train traffic control centre in Sweden. The following evaluations focused on what happens when STEG is introduced in train traffic controllers’ work places. The evaluation of STEG showed satisfied users with a feeling of active involvement during the design and deployment processes, and gave confirmation that the new control strategies are functioning. STEG was seen as successful and was thereafter developed into MULTI-STEG, intended to be used by several users simultaneously, supporting them to share information in a new way. MULTI-STEG was deployed and tested at another train traffic control centre in Sweden. The following evaluations of MULTI-STEG focused on what happens when several users are involved and how train traffic controllers felt when sharing information, that before would have only been in their own minds, with each other. Some complications occurred due to mistakes in the deployment process, but altogether the evaluation showed positive attitudes towards the new system and MULTI-STEG was perceived as an efficient system for train traffic control.

The main results are that STEG and MULTI-STEG can be used as an efficient train traffic control system and the new system can reduce the unnecessary cognitive load currently placed upon traffic controllers in today’s system. Also the deployment process is fundamental to the acceptance or non-acceptance of a new system by users. STEG was developed in a user-centred design process, but it is important that the deployment process is also user-centred.

Abstract [sv]

Framtidens system för tågtrafikstyrning kräver nya lösningar och strategier för att bättre kunna möta morgondagens krav och mål inom tågtrafikstyrning. Uppsala universitet och Trafikverket har samarbetat under många år när det gäller tågtrafikstyrning och hur man ska kunna förbättra trafikledarnas styrsystem och arbetsmiljö. I ett tidigt stadium av samarbetet har det gjorts studier och analyser av trafikledarnas uppgifter, strategier, beslutsfattande, användande av tillgänglig information samt deras tekniska stödsystem. Denna forskning resulterade i nya styr-paradigmer; från att arbeta genom att använda styrning genom undantagslösningar till att använda styrning med omplanering. Genom att använda den nya styr-paradigmen utvecklades och designades prototyp-system och gränssnitt som bättre kunde möta framtidens mål och därmed bidra till en mer optimal användning av infrastrukturens kapacitet. Ett nytt operativt tågtrafikstyrningssystem utvecklades och kallades STEG, Styrning av Tåg genom Elektronisk Graf, i en iterativ och användarcentrerad process. Systemet implementerades och testades operativt på en trafikledningscentral i mellersta Sverige. Utvärderingarna som gjordes fokuserade på vad som händer när man introducerade STEG på trafikledarnas arbetsplats. Utvärderingen visade nöjda användare som kände att de fått vara med under både utvecklings- och implementeringsfasen av det nya styrningssystemet, samt att den nya styrprincipen fungerar. STEG var framgångsrikt och har därefter vidareutvecklats till MULTI-STEG som är avsett att användas av flera användare samtidigt och därmed ge trafikledarna en möjlighet att kunna dela information på ett nytt sätt. MULTI-STEG implementerades och testades på en annan trafikledningscentral i norra Sverige. Utvärderingarna fokuserade på vad som händer när flera användare delar information och hur det påverkade deras arbete. En del komplikationer inträffade genom att misstag i implementeringsprocessen gjordes, men sammanfattningsvis så var attityden gentemot det nya systemet positiv och MULTI-STEG ansågs vara ett effektivt system för tågtrafikstyrning.

De huvudsakliga resultaten är att STEG och MULTI-STEG kan användas som ett effektivt system för tågtrafikstyrning och att det nya systemet reducerar den onödiga kognitiva belastningen som trafikledarna upplever med dagens befintliga tågtrafiksystem. STEG är utvecklat i en användarcentrerad process, men det krävs även att implementeringsfasen är användarcentrerad för att ett nytt system ska fungera.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala University, 2012.
Series
Information technology licentiate theses: Licentiate theses from the Department of Information Technology, ISSN 1404-5117 ; 2012-001
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Computer Science with specialization in Human-Computer Interaction
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169038OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-169038DiVA: diva2:504962
Presentation
2012-04-03, Rum 1111, Polacksbacken, Lägerhyddsvägen 2, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Supervisors
Projects
FTTS
Available from: 2012-03-07 Created: 2012-02-22 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Development and implementation of new principles and systems for train traffic control in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development and implementation of new principles and systems for train traffic control in Sweden
2010 (English)In: Computers in Railways XII: Computer System Design and Operation in Railways and other Transit Systems, Southampton, UK: WIT Press , 2010, 441-450 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Southampton, UK: WIT Press, 2010
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-150562 (URN)10.2495/CR100411 (DOI)978-1-84564-468-0 (ISBN)
Available from: 2011-03-31 Created: 2011-03-31 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
2. Operative tests of a new system for train traffic control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operative tests of a new system for train traffic control
Show others...
2009 (English)In: Rail Human Factors around the World: Impacts on and of People for Successful Rail Operations / [ed] Dadashi, Nastaran, 2009, 424-433 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Tomorrow’s train traffic systems requires new strategies and solutions for efficient traintraffic control and utilization of track capacity, especially in traffic systems with a highdegree of deregulated and mixed traffic. There are many different goals associated withthe traffic control tasks and the work of the traffic controllers (dispatchers). Examples aresafety, efficiency of the traffic with regard to timeliness and energy consumption, goodservice and information to passengers and customers etc. Today’s traffic controlsystems and user interfaces do not efficiently support such goals. In earlier research wehave analyzed important aspects of the traffic controller’s tasks, strategies, decisionmaking, use of information and support systems etc. Based on this research we,together with Banverket (Swedish Rail Administration), have designed prototypesystems and interfaces that better can meet future goals and contribute to more optimaluse of infrastructure capacity. These prototype systems have now been developed into afully operational system which has been tested during 6 months, for control of train trafficin a section of the Swedish rail system. The evaluation shows that the system efficientlysupports control tasks and is well accepted by the involved traffic controllers.

Keyword
train traffic control, dispatchers, operator interface, decision support, situation awareness
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169138 (URN)978-0-415-64475-4 (ISBN)
Conference
Third International Conference on Rail Human Factors, March 3-5, 2009, Lille, France
Available from: 2012-02-23 Created: 2012-02-23 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
3. Reducing unnecessary cognitive load in train traffic control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reducing unnecessary cognitive load in train traffic control
2011 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Uppsala University has collaborated with Swedish National Railway Administration in research about train traffic control and how to improve traffic controllers’ work environment, so that they can better meet future demands. This has resulted in a new operational train traffic control system called STEG. The traffic controllers are today forced to develop and use very complex mental models which take a long time to learn. We have also found that their cognitive capacity is more used to indentify, understand and analyze the traffic situation and less to solve problems and find optimal solutions to disturbances. The objective for developing STEG was to change this situation and reduce unnecessary cognitive load. Interviews with traffic controllers show that STEG has reduced the complexity of their mental models and contributed to less unnecessary cognitive load in operation. Our conclusion is that by reducing the complexity of their mental model, they can be skilled much faster and they are now able to use their cognitive capacity and skills on the important parts of their work.

Keyword
mental models, cognitive load, learning, operator interface, decision making, situation awareness, perception, train traffic control
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169142 (URN)
Conference
Conference for work environment research, June 15-17, 2011, Luleå, Sweden
Available from: 2012-02-23 Created: 2012-02-23 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
4. All or nothing: Deployment must also be user-centred
Open this publication in new window or tab >>All or nothing: Deployment must also be user-centred
2012 (English)In: Ergonomics Open Journal, ISSN 1875-9343, E-ISSN 1875-9343Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This article describes the importance ofusing a user-centred deployment process.The article is based on a case study of twotrain traffic control centres where the samesystem, STEG, was deployed with differentcontexts.

National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169144 (URN)
Available from: 2012-02-23 Created: 2012-02-23 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved

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