Future Train Traffic Control Development and deployment of new principles and systems in train traffic control

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala universitet

Sammanfattning: 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.