1. A technique for a new train operation aptitude test

  • Proposal of a new train operation aptitude test by reshuffling of its test items, including the adoption of multi-option response testing with a view to evaluating coping capabilities in abnormal situations.

The fundamental framework for train operation aptitude tests in railways was established 50 years ago. However, the environment of train operation has changed greatly since then; frequent high-speed train services are now operated according to short-headway train operation diagrams, and operation procedures are automated. This has substantially changed the roles of those engaged in train operation. Against this background, the RTRI has promoted the development of a new testing system that suits the prevailing conditions.

For this purpose, the RTRI conducted a monitor survey of about 1,500 employees engaged in train operation with (different) railway promoters. The four candidates for the new test were a multi-option response test, a break-in suppression test, an attention capacity test and a PC-based action/judgment test. The RTRI also surveyed the points scored by employees in the four existing tests (the workability test, the alertness test, the recognition test (types 1 and 2) and the tension allocation test) and analyzed the correlation of these scores with accident data for the past six years.

The RTRI classified the subjects into three groups of high, medium and low scores. When total average in each group in taken as 100 and judging from the relationship between accident frequency rate and accident index that was created, it was confirmed that in existing tests including gworkability testh and gType-I recognition testh, and new test candidates including gmulti-option response testh that is designed to judge comprehensive capabilities to cope with abnormal situations and gbreak-in suppression testh that measures the potential for errors caused by habituation or ungrounded preoccupation, the group with lower test scores tends to have a higher percentage of causing accidents (see Fig. 1).

Based on other findings from the study, the RTRI proposed the following policy on aptitude tests:
(1) The workability test will be continued.
(2) The alertness test will be replaced with the multi-option response test.
(3) Only the type-1 recognition test will be executed, with the type-2 test omitted. At the same time, the break-in suppression test will be introduced and executed in combination with the type-1 recognition test.
(4) The attention capacity test will be suspended.

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