I collaborated with postdocs in my lab to gather data from a Class I railroad operations center. We then explored preliminary simulation using a tool formerly designed to model human workload when flying advanced aircraft with a robotic co-pilot in the cockpit:
Railroad dispatch centers increasingly use technology to assist dispatchers as they interact with multiple entities across a variety of tasks to ensure trains and track personnel function safely on an efficient schedule. A railroad dispatcher workload simulation could, therefore, be useful in estimating the impact of new technologies on dispatchers’ workload and overall system performance, particularly in the concept generation phase of a systems engineering process. This paper first discusses railroad dispatchers’ work analysis based on a large dispatch center and then presents the development of the Railroad Dispatcher Workload Simulation (RDWS), which generates models of dispatcher workload given various settings.