Phase 3 of the research program involved the development of novel designs for urban and rural rail level crossings. It was driven by the application of the CWA-DT as part of a participatory design process involving rail and road safety stakeholders (see Figure 6.3 for an overview of the process).

The remainder of this chapter describes the application of the CWA-DT to generate initial design concepts for rail level crossings.

Documentation of Insights from the CWA Outputs

The CWA-DT places importance on the translation of ‘insights’, gained from CWA analyses, into design solutions. Insights include both non-obvious inferences from the analysis outputs and more obvious findings about the system that the research

Key steps undertaken following the CWA-DT process

FIGURE 6.3 Key steps undertaken following the CWA-DT process.

team considers important for the design process. The categories of insights used in the CWA-DT are described in Box 6.2.

Insights were documented during the data collection and analysis processes, and during the design planning process. Examples of the insights identified are provided in Table 6.1.


  • Assumptions: Assumptions relate to the underlying hypotheses, expectations and beliefs upon which the system, or part of the system, is based. They could be about the way the system functions or how people are expected to behave within the system. They could be correct or incorrect.
  • Leverage points: Aspects within a system that, if changed in a small way, could produce larger changes across the system. For example, there may be evidence within the analysis that suggests there is an actor or process that is under-utilised or could be better utilised to meet the systems’ purpose(s).
  • Metaphors: Commonly used in design, metaphors and analogies promote thinking about how to apply existing ideas in new situations. Metaphor involves the comparison, interaction or substitution of two subjects on a symbolic level. An insight might involve, for example, realising that there are similarities in two domains (i.e. scheduling in manufacturing and health care) or that something in the natural environment is similar to what is trying to be achieved through technology (i.e. comparing an aircraft wing and a bird’s wing).
  • Pain points: Problems or issues identified during the analysis. They may be points of frustration for users, conflicting goals between users or problems such as information bottlenecks in organisational systems.
  • Scenario features: Data collection and analysis activities often uncover rich contextual information about the domain being analysed. The intention of this insight type is to capture the key features that would be important to consider in the design process. A feature of a potential scenario could include a type of actor, attributes of an actor, a type of task or an environmental disturbance or influence.
  • Design solutions: A proposed design or feature of a design identified by an analyst or others reviewing the analysis outputs. The solution does not have to be a well-developed idea to be documented.


Examples of Insights that Informed the Design Process


Insight Type

CWA Phase

Train drivers currently have very few options for avoiding a collision: they can sound the train horn and activate the emergency brakes, but in almost all cases the train will not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. This lack of control over the situation can add to the distress and trauma experienced by train drivers. As sociotechnical systems theory notes, control is very important. How can we give train drivers greater control to manage these situations?

Leverage point

Decision ladder

Expectancy plays a key role in road user behaviour at rail level crossings. Drivers who experience rail level crossings with no trains present are likely to not expect to see a train, and therefore may not look for trains.

Pain point

Decision ladder and addition data analysis from rural on-road study

Rain and wet weather influences behaviour, particularly of pedestrians (e.g. running in front of a train rather than waiting in the rain).

Scenario feature

Strategies analysis diagram

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >