Field Evaluation of a Wireless Handheld Computer for Railroad Roadway Workers

This report is the third in a series describing the development and evaluation of a software application to facilitate communications for railroad roadway workers using a wireless handheld computer. The current prototype operated on a cell phone integrated with a personal digital assistant (PDA). The roadway worker can perform two types of communication related tasks with the application: request information about train status and territory without assistance from the dispatcher and request track authority. This study documents a field evaluation of the application to identify the safety implications of digital wireless communications on roadway worker safety and performance. It compares performance using traditional voice radio and telephone communications to the use of an application that can display this information in a visual form. The software application was faster and more effective than the voice radio communication when used to convey long messages such as filling out Form Ds. Radio communication was faster than the visually based software application for simple communications that did not tax the operator’s memory.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

    55 Broadway
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Office of Research and Development, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Doran, Neslihan
    • Multer, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 2009-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 58p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01142753
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-VNTSC-FRA-08-05, DOT/FRA/ORD-09/02
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 28 2009 7:48PM