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Investigation into Effects of System Design on Metro Drivers’ Safety-Related Performance: An Eye-Tracking Study

Lookup NU author(s): Aleksandrs Rjabovs, Professor Roberto Palacin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2019, The Author(s).This paper explores performance shaping factors associated with holistic design aspects of metro systems affecting driver’s behaviour based on a case study using eye-tracking techniques. Train driving is a highly visual task where the physical environment provides key visual instructions. Eye–mind theories suggest that eye movements closely follow cognitive processes when it comes to interaction with the visual world. The data for this study have been collected in a representative urban rail system serving a metropolitan area with circa 1.2 million inhabitants during 20 in-service trials. Participating drivers were asked to wear an eye-tracker while driving a train as they would normally do. The study focuses on four areas of interest at four consecutive stations. The stations have similar characteristics but differ in terms of certain design elements which are mirrors, platforms, stopping position markers and positions of a running signal. Previous studies have demonstrated the importance of these elements to metro drivers. The paper assesses the usability of the system design elements through analysis of gaze fixations. Results suggest the importance of the positions of a mirror and a signal in relation to the cab, as well as the distance between a stopping point and a signal. Such factors as openness of stations, passenger loadings and informativeness of certain elements also demonstrated influence on drivers’ performance. It was also found that drivers sometimes do not check a signal before departing a station, which is a significant concern. The paper discusses factors potentially propagating such behaviour.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rjabovs A, Palacin R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Urban Rail Transit

Year: 2019

Volume: 5

Issue: 4

Pages: 267-277

Print publication date: 01/12/2019

Online publication date: 15/11/2019

Acceptance date: 24/10/2019

Date deposited: 02/12/2019

ISSN (print): 2199-6687

ISSN (electronic): 2199-6679

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s40864-019-00115-1


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