Cognitive Abilities Predict Safety Performance: A Study Examining High-Speed Railway Dispatchers

Shi Lei, Zizheng Guo, Xi Tan, Xi Chen, Chengen Li, Jiaming Zou, Shi Cao, Guo Feng

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cognitive abilities are good predictors of safety performance in many occupations. However, this correlation has not been studied from the perspective of high-speed railway (HSR) dispatchers who play a vital role in ensuring the safety and punctuality of HSR transportation system. Therefore, studying factors affecting HSR dispatchers' safety performance is not only of great importance in filling the theoretical gap, but also conducive to the selection and training of dispatchers, contributing to the reduction of human errors and the prevention of railway accidents. In this study, a total of 118 HSR dispatchers from a branch of China Railway were recruited to complete the tests that examined their cognitive abilities related to the dispatching job, including logical reasoning, visual multiobject tracking, working memory, task switching, and cognitive flexibility. Safety performance, including both the safety evaluation score obtained from the dispatchers' monthly safety performance record of the Railway Bureau and the emergency disposal performance indicated by train delay time, was evaluated with a dispatch simulator. The results suggested that better abilities in visual multiobject tracking, working memory, task switching, and cognitive flexibility were correlated with higher safety evaluation score (reflecting daily safety performance) and shorter train delay time (reflecting safety and efficiency in emergency disposal). No significant correlation was found in logical reasoning. These findings support the recommendation that cognitive abilities investigated as predictors of safety performance could be useful for the selection and training of HSR dispatchers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5538320
JournalJournal of Advanced Transportation
Volume2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management

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