Insights


New uses for railway stations

New uses for railway stations

We’ve talked in this blog and in press articles about the potential for using station buildings or buildings near station for community or commercial uses – in part to promote better security by having more activity going on in or around the station. And here is a great example from Edge Hill station in Liverpool where a disused building in the station has been put...

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The problems with alarms

Following on from the discussions on the events in the BP control room, we spotted this piece in the New York Times which serves as a timely reminder of the problems of nuisance alarms and excessive alarm rates.   As Human Factors professionals and control room designers, one of our most common tasks is to persuade engineers that not every alarm need to be presented...

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The reality in control rooms when it all goes wrong

For those of us working in the control room design industry it is often easy to forget the reality of what happens to the operators when it all goes wrong and disaster happens. For a reminder, read this account of what happened in the control room when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded – http://tinyurl.com/3ahwsxo


Can good architecture influence behaviour?

Can good architecture influence behaviour?

Can the good design of buildings actually influence behaviour? There seems to be a body of evidence from the education sector that it can certainly reduce negative behaviours. Providing an environment that is enriching, that is human, that people want to care for and has been considered to remove opportunities for unwanted behaviours seems to be key. This feature recently on the BBC highlighted some...

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Augmented Reality in manufacturing

Augmented reality is already starting to permiate into consumer products – the advent of the iPhone and Blackberry with in-built GPS, cameras and compasses is allowing applications to know where you are and what you are looking at and layer over relevant information to the scene. However, we’ve been more interested in how this technology can be applied to the working environment and business solutions. ...

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Tube station training & simulation facility

Tube station training & simulation facility

The rail industry in the UK has long been on the slow side at investing in training & simulation facilities.  So it was most welcome to see the development of a new facility for Transport for London to simulate tube station operations (as reported in the Evening Standard) Counter to the argument put by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, on-the-job training can rarely equip staff with all...

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The external image control rooms can give…

The external image control rooms can give…

The news channels have all been covering the further deepening of the crisis at BP – the latest being the photoshopping of the images of the control room dealing with the leaking oil well to make it look like they were busier and that the photos were taken more recently it raises the question of to what degree should control rooms be designed to give...

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Are station ticket machines “confusing”?

Passenger Focus have highlighted the issue of how ticket machines are confusing and difficult to use for rail passengers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10701953.  It is an issue that we have been talking about on this blog and in some of our other activities for a while now. The train companies point to satisfaction surveys as evidence that there isn’t actually a problem.  However, from our experience, this isn’t...

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Multi-touch interfaces in airport traffic planning

We’ve been spending some time recently looking at the potential for the use of multi-touch interfaces in control room design.  It seems to be a strongly emerging technology in the consumer market but so far hasn’t made so much impact in the world of command and control. In digging around we came across this video from American Airlines where they were looking to introduce a...

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How human factors can improve train interiors

How human factors can improve train interiors

As the railway industry becomes more focused on the passenger, the role of human factors in producing good design that delivers what the passenger wants is becoming more important. In this article in the International Railway Journal this month, our very own Mike Stearn highlights the areas in which improvements can be made.  This starts with understanding the different kinds of passengers travelling on the...

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