Modelling of human alarm handling response times: a case study of the Ladbroke Grove rail accident in the UK

The purpose of the paper was to address the timeliness of the signaller's intervention in the Ladbroke Grove rail incident in the UK, as well as to consider the utility of human performance time modelling more generally. Human performance response time modelling is a critical area for Human Factors and Ergonomics research. This research applied two approaches to the same problem to see if they arrived at the same conclusion. The first modelling approach used the alarm initiated activity (AIA) model. This approach is useful for indicating general response times in emergency events, but it cannot comment in detail on any specific case. The second modelling approach employed a multi-modal critical path analysis (CPA) technique. The advantage of the latter approach is that it can be used to model a specific incident on the basis of the known factors from the accident inquiry. The results show that the AIA model produced an estimated response time of 17 s, whereas the CPA model produced an estimated response time of 19 s. This compares with the actual response time of the signaller of 18 s. The response time data from both approaches are concordant and suggest that the signaller's response time in the Ladbroke Grove rail accident was reasonable. This research has application to the modelling of human responses to emergency events in all domains. Rather than the forensic reconstruction approach used in this paper, the models could be used in a predictive manner to anticipate how long human operators of safety-critical systems might take to respond in emergency scenarios. (A)


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  • Accession Number: 01102732
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: TRL
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Jun 16 2008 8:25AM