Individual markers of resilience in train traffic control: The role of operators’ goals and strategic mental models and their implications for variation, expertise and performance.

J.C. Lo, K.R. Pluyter, S.A. Meijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Objective:
The aim of this study was to examine individual markers of resilience and obtain quantitative insights into the understanding and the implications of variation and expertise levels in train traffic operators’ goals and strategic mental models and their impact on performance.
Background:
The Dutch railways are one of the world’s most heavy utilized railway networks and have been identified to be weak in system and organizational resilience.
Method:
Twenty-two train traffic controllers enacted two scenarios in a human-in-the-loop simulator. Their experience, goals, strategic mental models, and performance were assessed through questionnaires and simulator logs. Goals were operationalized through performance indicators and strategic mental models through train completion strategies.
Results:
A variation was found between operators for both self-reported primary performance indicators and completion strategies. Further, the primary goal of only 14% of the operators reflected the primary organizational goal (i.e., arrival punctuality). An incongruence was also found between train traffic controllers’ self-reported performance indicators and objective performance in a more disrupted condition. The level of experience tends to affect performance differently.
Conclusion:
There is a gap between primary organizational goals and preferred individual goals. Further, the relative strong diversity in primary operator goals and strategic mental models indicates weak resilience at the individual level.
Application:
With recent and upcoming large-scale changes throughout the sociotechnical space of the railway infrastructure organization, the findings are useful to facilitate future railway traffic control and the development of a resilient system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-91
JournalHuman Factors: the journal of the human factors and ergonomics society
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • goal competition
  • diversity
  • organizational resilience
  • railway
  • sociotechnical system

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