Rail human factors research has grown rapidly in both quantity and quality of output over the past few years. There was an early base of work at a few institutions carried out over the 1960s and 1970s, followed by a lull in the 1980s and early 1990s. The continual influences of safety concerns, new technical system opportunities, reorganisation of the business, needs to increase effective, reliable and safe use of capacity, and increased society, media and government interest have now accelerated rail human factors research programmes in several countries. In this paper we review the literature on rail human factors research, covering driving, signalling and control, maintenance, reporting systems, passenger interests, planning and technical systems change. Current major rail human factors programmes are summarised and future research needs proposed. It is asserted that general human factors models and methods are being re-assessed, and new ones developed, to meet the requirements of the railways. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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