Human Factors in Maintenance of Complex Transportation Systems

  • Miltos KyriakidisEmail author
  • Sarbjeet Singh
Part of the Asset Analytics book series (ASAN)


Maintenance is a major component of complex transportation systems safe and undisturbed operation. Despite technological advancements, maintenance tasks and procedures rely heavily on the performance of maintenance personnel. Alas, due to the complexity and often limited time to perform and complete maintenance tasks, as well as the usually difficult working conditions, maintenance personnel is prone to error. Attention to human factors can, therefore, strengthen the performance of the personnel and minimise the likelihood of maintenance related incidents and accidents. This chapter contributes to the discourse of maintenance considerations in transportation systems by concisely discussing the human factors involvement in the maintenance procedures, offering a systematic approach to address human factors in maintenance operations, and presenting the factors that affect the performance of maintenance personnel. We expect our view to be instrumental for all stakeholders involved with maintenance of transportation systems.


Human factors Transport systems Maintenance  Contributing factors Systematic approach 


  1. Boyd, D., & Stolzer, A. (2015). Causes and trends in maintenance-related accidents in FAA-certified single engine piston aircraft. Journal of Aviation Technology and Engineering, 5, 17–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dhillon, B. S. (2014). Human Error In Maintenance: An Investigative Study For the Factories of the Future, IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering. IOP Publishing (p. 012031).Google Scholar
  3. FAA, n.a. Human Factors Guide for Aviation Maintenance and Inspection. Available from
  4. Farrington-Darby, T., Pickup, L., & Wilson, J. R. (2005). Safety culture in railway maintenance. Safety Science, 43, 39–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Federal Transit Administration. (2016). Rail Safety Statistics Report: Rail Transit Safety Data 2007–2013. Washington, DC. Available from
  6. Gibson, W. H., Megaw, E. D., Young, M. S., & Lowe, E. (2005). A taxonomy of human communication errors and application to railway track maintenance. Cognition, Technology and Work, 8, 57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Health and Safety Executive. (1999). Reducing error and influencing behaviour. Surrey, UK. Available from
  8. Health and Safety Executive. (2000). Improving maintenance a guide to reducing human error. Surrey, UK.Google Scholar
  9. Hobbs, A. (2008). An overview of human factors in aviation maintenance. Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Canberra City, Australia. Available from
  10. Kyriakidis, M. (2013). Developing a Human Performance Railway Operational Index to enhance safety of railway operations, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Imperial College London, London, UK.Google Scholar
  11. Kyriakidis, M., Majumdar, A., Grote, G., & Ochieng, W. Y. (2012). Development and Assessment of Performance Shaping Factors Taxonomy for Railway Operations. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2289, 145–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Learmount, D. (2004). Annual accident survey, flight international (pp. 34–36).Google Scholar
  13. Maurino, D. E. (1998). ICAO supports proactive approach to managing human factors issues related to advanced technology. ICAO Journal, 17–29.Google Scholar
  14. Mills, A., Gibson, H., Pennie, D. J., & Brook-Carter, N. (2008). Human factors of train maintenance. London, UK. Available from
  15. OSHA. (2010). Maintenance and OSH—A statistical picture. European agency for safety and health at work, Bilbao, Spain. Available from
  16. Pennie, D. J., Brook-Carter, N., & Gibson, W. H. (2007). Human Factors Guidance For Maintenance, Human Factors in Ship Design, Safety and Operation Conference. The Royal Institution of Naval Architects, London, UK.Google Scholar
  17. Singh, S., Majumdar, A., & Kyriakidis, M. (2017). Incorporating human reliability analysis to enhance maintenance audits: The case of rail bogie maintenance. International Journal of Prognostics and Health Management 8.Google Scholar
  18. Smith, P., Kyriakidis, M., Majumdar, A., & Ochieng, W. Y. (2013). Impact of ERTMS on human performance in railway operations—European findings. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2374, 83–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Energy Systems AnalysisPaul Scherrer InstituteVilligenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Singapore-ETH Centre, Future Resilient SystemsSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Division of Operation and MaintenanceLuleå University of TechnologyLuleåSweden
  4. 4.Mechanical Engineering DepartmentGovernment College of Engineering and TechnologyJammuIndia

Personalised recommendations