Development of a railway traffic controllers competency extraction method to ensure safety during restricted operations

Masato Kuratani, Jun Sakaniwa, Ken Kusukami, Akinori Komatsubara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Railway traffic controllers are required to decide train operation restrictions. They instruct train drivers properly and promptly in order to ensure safety from natural hazards such as heavy rain, strong wind and big earthquakes. When an operation restriction is issued, controllers must make various decisions in a timely manner in view of the priority of each goal including minimizing the impact on train operations, in constantly changing situations. However, the competency to perform this task has not yet been realized. The authors propose a method for analyzing controller competencies when train operation is restricted by extracting specific actions taken by skilled controllers to overcome difficult situations. Applying this method to controller instruction tasks, 209 competencies were obtained. One such competency is being able to give precise instructions to train drivers in scenes where situational awareness is difficult. For example, a situation where operation restrictions are issued from multiple locations, but then only one restriction is rescinded. Additionally, many competencies require the non-technical skills of situational awareness. In addition, many "competencies learned through personal experience", which had been regarded as the tacit knowledge of expert controllers, were revealed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Japan Industrial Management Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 15


  • Traffic controller
  • competencies extraction
  • operation restriction
  • safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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