Past and Future Challenges for Railway Research and the Role of a Systems Perspective

  • Rebecca AndreassonEmail author
  • Anders A. Jansson
  • Jessica Lindblom
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 824)


Operational train traffic is dependent on an efficient traffic plan monitored and executed by the traffic controllers, the proficient maneuvering of the trains by the train drivers, and on the interaction, communication, and coordination between these two work roles. The railway research community, and the branch of industry itself, has called for an integrated systems perspective for the whole train traffic system to achieve an efficient performance. As human-human and human-technology interactions are natural parts of the socio-technical system of train traffic, the aim of this paper is to provide illustrative examples for why a systems perspective is needed for the future of railway research. Furthermore, we present the theoretical framework of distributed cognition (DCog) as a necessary addition to the theoretical and methodological toolbox of the Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF&E) discipline. To realize efficient and coordinated processes involved in organizing and executing operational train traffic, the paper proposes that the DCog framework should be implemented in the train traffic domain as a viable approach forward.


Train traffic Distributed cognition Safety-critical systems Systems perspective 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information TechnologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.School of InformaticsUniversity of SkövdeSkövdeSweden

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