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Human Factors Overview

Human errors now account for more than one third of all train accidents in the U.S. railroad industry. Railroads depend on the adaptability of people, as well as the performance of infrastructure, equipment, and control systems to keep the system safe. Railroad workers need knowledge, training, tools and alertness to do their jobs properly and to ensure the public, their coworkers’ and their own safety. When train crews are highly fatigued, the average total accident cost has been found to be more than triple the overall average cost of accidents. Strategic priorities for the human factors division include:

  • Conduct pilot trials to improve safety and organizational culture in railroad organizations
  • Conduct research on fatigue, distraction and ergonomics to address individual and team behavior
  • Develop technology, automation and systems design to minimize the potential for human errors

An FRA Human factors updates banner with a cartoon train.