Section III Design of New Rail Level Crossing Environments

A Participatory Approach to Designing Rail Level Crossings

With Contributions from:

Christine Mulvihill and Kristie Young


This chapter describes the process we used to generate new rail level crossing design concepts. Although the utility of Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA) for understanding complex system performance is well established, its outputs are not often used directly in the design process, particularly where the scope is broader than interface design (Read et al. 2012). It has been proposed that CWA provides ‘a philosophical tool’ rather than a design method (Mendoza et al. 2011, p. 58). Lintern (2005) explains that CWA provides recommendations for system design; it is up to designers to decide how these will be implemented. To explore this further, we conducted a survey of CWA users to better understand current practice and found that there appears to be no standard approach to whole of system design with CWA; instead, practitioners often craft their own approaches (Read et al. 2015a). In response to these concerns and to support the development of new rail level crossing design concepts, we developed the CWA Design Toolkit (CWA-DT; Read et al. 2015c). The intent was not to replace the CWA framework, but to extend it with tools that can be used to translate CWA outputs into designs.

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