Human factors in rail

Human factors in rail

Creating a better experience for your passengers and staff

We work with all areas of the rail sector to put the needs of people first and foremost.

Whether working from the viewpoint of passengers on station concourses, onboard customer service teams or maintenance crews at your depots, we  help you rethink current practices and introduce changes that enhance individual experiences of the railway and improve operational efficiency.

How we can help you integrate human factors into rail operations 

Our rail human factors experts bring international experience of working with railway operators, manufacturers and regulators across Europe and Asia. Previous assignments include the design of vehicle interiors and customer service hubs, usability trials, behaviour modelling, workload assessments and human-machine interaction audits.

From the earliest stages of the design process we bring proven, evidence-based techniques to comprehensively understand the circumstances, characteristics and limitations of your end-users.

For example, do you require passengers to purchase tickets and find their trains without assistance? Can staff in safety-critical roles access the right information to make decisions (particularly under emergency conditions)?

We then help you to create environments and systems that encourage the behaviours you want to see from users, rather than making them work with arrangements that can more often be  based on engineering convention than the realities of life.

The benefits to you

To help you deliver your objectives you will have access to human factors experts with in-depth knowledge of global standards and experience of delivering complex projects that have made a lasting positive impact in the rail environment.

As we work with your teams we will also use our wealth of experience to integrate measures that go beyond those specified in relevant standards and specifications. Our insights will create new opportunities for your customers and colleagues to benefit from the latest user-centred design principles.

In this way, we will help you to provide workplaces that empower staff to perform their roles to the best of their ability; offer human-machine interfaces that are intuitive to use; and create passenger environments that are safe, accessible, easy to navigate and, above all, promote all that is best about rail travel.

PURE Human Factors

PURE Human Factors

A free webinar series from Ricardo explaining the 'PURE' essentials of Human Factors thinking in the railway: Performance, Users, Requirements and Evaluation

Read more

What is Human Factors in the rail industry?

Human factors is a process that addresses the design of a system or environment from the point of view of the end user.

Using insights from the fields of ergonomics, psychology and physiology, a Human Factors specialist will bring an understanding of human capabilities and limitations to a project, helping to reduce the potential for human error, or to improve efficiency, safety and productivity in a given environment.

These skills can be used across almost every aspect of rail operations, from customer service - such as the functions of an unmanned ticket machine – to the layout of a Driver Advisory System or the configuration of a busy operations control centre.

In each instance there are basic questions that a human factors specialist will seek to answer:

  • Who must perform a task?
  • What are they expected to do?
  • Will they understand what to do?
  • Can they do it?
  • Could they still do it under pressure, such as under emergency conditions?

To introduce the fundamental thought processes of a Human Factors specialist we have created the PURE concept: Performance, Users, Requirements and Evaluation.

To find out more about PURE and how it can be applied in the rail environment, visit our short series of webinars about the process.