The National Academies

TCRP F-10 [Completed]

Toolbox for Transit Operator Fatigue

  Project Data
Funds: $303,294
Research Agency: Foster-Miller, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Judith Gertler
Effective Date: 10/25/2000
Completion Date: 6/30/2002

TCRP REPORT 81: Toolbox for Transit Operator Fatigue documents principles, techniques, and strategies that are used in the development of fatigue-mitigation plans. The Toolbox includes a "how to" component on the design, implementation, and evaluation of fatigue-mitigation plans. The fatigue-mitigation plans may be used by senior managers, operations managers, safety officials, medical personnel, risk managers, human resource personnel, policymakers, and legal advisors.


The role that operator fatigue plays in mass transit safety has become one of the central issues that U.S. bus and rail transit agencies must address. Fatigue is increasingly cited as a contributing factor in bus and rail transit accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board lists human fatigue as an area where significant improvement is needed in order to increase transportation safety. In its legislative proposals for authorization of the Rail Safety Act, the Federal Railroad Administration has suggested that fatigue-mitigation plans be implemented by all U.S. railroads. The Federal Transit Administration has developed a fatigue-awareness training program that a number of U.S. transit properties have used to help their front line and supervisory employees understand how fatigue can affect human performance. In addition to reducing accidents, mitigating fatigue can also reduce the cost of transit operations. Costs due to lost productivity, employee absenteeism, employee turnover rate, reduced morale, and increased wear and tear on equipment are affected by employee fatigue.

The body of research that has been completed on the effects of fatigue on human performance is significant and demonstrates clearly that transit agencies must seek to mitigate its impact on their operations. Available research findings, as well as fatigue-mitigation efforts in other industries, provide the transit industry with a firm basis for understanding where efforts need to be focused in dealing with this issue. Building on the work that has been completed to date, the Toolbox is designed to provide U.S. transit operators with a variety of resources, methods and techniques for reducing operator fatigue and minimizing its effects.

Foster-Miller, Inc. prepared this report for TCRP Project F-10. To achieve the project's objective of assembling a toolbox based on principles, techniques, strategies, and available resources that can be used in the development of fatigue-mitigation plans, a comprehensive literature review was undertaken to identify proven fatigue-management strategies and techniques. Based on the literature review, a set of candidate countermeasures suitable for the transit industry was identified. To ensure that the Toolbox would be responsive to the needs and concerns of the transit industry, Foster-Miller assembled a Transit Industry Panel. The role of this panel was to review intermediate results of the research team, such as the list of candidate countermeasures, and to provide guidance on both the content and organization of the Toolbox. The Toolbox includes descriptions of fatigue-management programs from organizations representing all modes of transportation, including transit, and suggests a five-step approach for implementing a fatigue-management program

Status: The final report is published as TCRP Report No.81.

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=1110