Safety in the construction industry is an important issue in most industrial countries. Railway construction, in particular, is associated with high risks, as work is often carried out on construction sites without interrupting train traffic.
The existing automatic train warning systems (ATWS) have shown problems that prevent widespread use. They are more expensive to purchase and difficult to operate. Training on such systems is very complex and time consuming.
The EU-funded project “A railway automatic track warning system based on distributed personal mobile terminals – ALARP” has focused on the development of alternative solutions.
The aim of the ALARP project was to develop a concept and prototypes of a mobile warning system. The basic functions of this system are the warning, alerting and localisation of the user on site as well as a possibility to communicate.
Within the ALARP project, the IAD was responsible for the design of the human-machine interfaces. This includes the design of warning signals or prototypes of the signal generators for the visual, acoustic or tactile human sensory channel. Here, special parameters were researched that present suitable signals to the track workers (e.g. audio signals in clearly perceptible frequencies or LEDs that light up in a certain rhythm).
The IAD has designed warning cascades that warn track workers in parallel or sequentially via several different types of signals (visual, acoustic, tactile). Thus, warnings of varying degrees of urgency can be implemented. Furthermore, the IAD has helped to design a feedback interface that allows workers to acknowledge warnings or simply respond to messages.
Schultheis, M., Wakula, J., Röbig, S., & Bruder, R. (2012). Entwicklung und Erprobung von Prototypen zur taktilen Warnung von Menschen in schwierigen Arbeitsbedingungen. In: Usability Professionals 2012, 9.–12. September 2012, Konstanz.
Seminatore, A.A., Ghelardoni, L., Ceccarelli, A., Falai, L., Schultheis, M., & Malinowsky, B. (2012). ALARP (A Railway Automatic Track Warning System Based on Distributed Personal Mobile Terminals). In: Transport Research Arena – Europe 2012, 23.–26. April 2012, Athen.
Schultheis, M., Wakula, J., Theuerling, H., & Bruder, R. (2011). Entwicklung eines Versuchskonzeptes zur visuellen, akustischen und taktilen Warnung im Bereich des Gleisbaus. In: Reflexionen und Visionen der Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion – Aus der Vergangenheit lernen, Zukunft gestalten. 9. Berliner Werkstatt Mensch-Maschine-Systeme, 5.–7. Oktober 2011, Berlin.
Wakula, J., Schultheis, M., Bruder, R., & Kalenahalli Sudarshan, P. (2011): Developing and Testing of Warning / Alterning System for Railway Trackside Workers. In: International Conference on Ergonomics and Human Factors. 8th Meet of ISE and HWWE 2011 at IIT Madras, 15.–17. December 2011, Chennai, Indien.