Events

PhD Defence Willy Siegel

Team reflection on weak resilience signals

Resilience enhancement of a rail sociotechnical system

Sociotechnical systems, interrelating people and technology, are becoming more complex while safety expectations grow. Examples of such complex sociotechnical system are civil aviation, process industry, nuclear industry, and rail systems. Existing methods of system development, system maintenance, and system control have achieved very low failure rates within sociotechnical systems, but have reached a limit. New paradigms are sought to overcome this limit. This dissertation makes a step in this direction and researches this matter in the rail domain. A search for new ways of viewing and understanding the rail sociotechnical system dynamics, new ways of analysis and tooling, enabling operators and their environment to identify new aspects to learn, anticipate and act on, to achieve the sought breakthrough. The research objective was to investigate means to improve the abilities of rail operators to enhance the performance of their sociotechnical system, when unexpected or unforeseen events occur. The approach taken was to view at the behaviour of a rail sociotechnical system through the lens of resilience engineering. The concept of ‘weak resilience signal’ was introduced as a change of the system needing further investigation to make underlying resilience-related knowledge explicit. Complementary, team reflection was modified and further developed for rail operators, in our case rail signallers, to reflect on the weak resilience signals. Team reflection, with help of tooling for weak resilience signal presentation and analysis, was hypothesized to enhance the resilience of the sociotechnical system by exposing related knowledge. The whole theory based concept was designed, prototyped and verified in real rail operations.