Human factors in rolling stock

Human factors in rolling stock

Ensuring vehicles meet the needs of passengers and staff

We provide manufacturers and operators with a range of specialist human factors services to ensure their vehicles meet the needs of passengers and staff.

Human factors can support:

  • Safer operations – by reducing opportunities for human error
  • Trade-off decisions between design, operational, maintenance and installation requirements
  • Reduction of life-cycle costs, by taking into account user damage, maintenance and installation risks
  • Design solutions that have the highest possible level of acceptability
  • Public satisfaction and acceptance through an understanding of usability and functionality for various passenger groups

Rolling stock design

Our services range from the design and testing of driver cab layouts through to identifying optimum locations for passenger emergency alarms or planning interior configurations that can help reduce station dwell times by enabling more efficient boarding and alighting.

Our UK-based team is conversant with Network Rail, Department for Transport and London Underground standards relating to the human factors design of rolling stock (our team developed the London Underground rolling stock design guidance document), and works to equivalent standards when supporting projects in other territories.

On-board systems

We advise on the human factors implications in the development and operation of trainborne systems, for example:

  • European Train Control System (ETCS)
  • Automatic Train Protection (ATP)
  • Global System Mobile-Railways (GSM-R)
  • Train Management Systems (TMS)
  • Driver Advisory Systems (DAS)
  • Driver Safety Advice (DSD)
  • Passenger emergency alarms


We assess human factors designs for maintenance staff through the application of ergonomics risk assessment tools focused on related tasks. Though these assessments are ideally carried out during the early design stages, they can also be implemented retrospectively where there is a need to improve the manner in which maintenance is carried out.