Human Factors Research Group

Centre for Rail Human Factors

The Centre for Rail Human Factors (CRHF), established in 1998, provides a focus for understanding and designing for reliable human performance in the complex distributed and changing work environment that is and will be the railway system.

Two trains waiting in a station

The CRHF developed from work that has been carried out by the Human Factors research group since 1996 in a wide range of areas of rail research. The CRHF has worked with British Rail Research, Railtrack, Network Rail, Rail Safety and Standards Board and individual rail technology companies in areas including planning and scheduling, workload assessment, situation awareness, handheld displays, human error assessment and prediction, teamwork and safety critical communication.

A fundamental feature of our work is that we examine railway work in the field as well as having developed a rail simulator in partnership with Network Rail, which is now in our simulation laboratory at Nottingham. The CHRF has also, since 2003, been partners in Rail Research UK – a national consortium of rail research groups funded by the EPSRC to lead all types of rail related academic research.

More than 12 PhDs and several MSc projects have been carried out with Network Rail, EPSRC and other sponsors. Current PhDs are examining human-centred automation, use of mobile computing, planning and protection for engineering work, and interfaces for remote condition monitoring.

Other research funding from Network Rail, Rail Safety and Standards Board, Serco, EPSRC and the European Commission has enabled study of:

  • mental workload in signalling
  • control and driving
  • driver competencies and behaviours (route knowledge and use of signage)
  • expertise in network control; passenger and public behaviour
  • human error and human reliability in all aspects of the railway
  • safety culture
  • effects of train tilt
  • implementation of change
  • maintenance and inspection

The CRHF is also a partner in the EPSRC funded consortium Rail Research UK. 

Human Factors Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham

Telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4040