Challenge

Acmena was engaged to deliver a comprehensive human factors program to support the ground-up development of a digital communications-based Automatic Train Management System designed for the Australian freight rail network.

Approach

Leveraging its experience in supporting the program’s Proof of Concept phase, and its understanding of complex innovation projects involving multiple stakeholders, Acmena established a flexible approach that aimed to decouple activities within the project. In doing so, Acmena worked to minimise the impact any delay might have on other activities and deliverables, ensuring the program ran efficiently and feedback was provided to the development and engineering teams as quickly as possible.

Outcome

Acmena’s human factors program has been successfully completed with ATMS now in the final stages of certification as the primary safe working control system between Port Augusta and Whyalla. The Tarcoola to Kalgoorlie section is scheduled for deployment in 2021.

Acmena delivers key human factors program to support the development of a new digital Automatic Train Management System for the Australian freight rail network.

To improve safety, capacity and efficiency across the national freight rail network, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) partnered with Lockheed Martin in 2008 to develop the Advanced Train Management System (ATMS).

Replacing traditional trackside signalling with on-board GPS and mobile communications-based control systems, ATMS provides drivers and operators with precise, real-time information, enabling trains to be accurately located and routed from digital network control centres. The system also provides the capability to remotely enforce authorities and slow or stop trains in the case of emergency.

After providing human factors support for the ATMS Proof of Concept stage, Acmena was engaged in 2014 to develop and deliver a comprehensive HF program for Implementation Stage One (ISO). Required to provide evidence of reliability, maintainability and safety prior to a full operational roll-out, ISO incorporated live trials between Port August and Whyalla in South Australia involving up to ten GWA locomotives.

Integrating its program with the project safety and RAM activities, Acmena was responsible for conducting design reviews for both the network controller workstation and on-board driver interfaces. This involved an analysis of workflow, safety functions, alarm behaviours and error handling strategies. Acmena also investigated the potential for human error introduced by the interface design and verified the implementation of the human interfaces.

Working closely with project stakeholders, Acmena was responsible for planning, conducting and reporting on an extensive usability trial, incorporating the simultaneous use of a controller and driver to deliver efficient and realistic outcomes. Acmena also provided key HF management and assurance services to ensure the project met its regulatory requirements and performance objectives.

Acmena’s human factors program has been successfully completed with ATMS now in the final stages of certification as the primary safe working control system between Port Augusta and Whyalla. The Tarcoola to Kalgoorlie section is scheduled for deployment in 2021.

Expertise

Human Factors

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