Moving Map Displays: Using CTIL and Eye Tracking Technologies to Measure Distraction in Locomotive Cabs

Distraction is more and more of a problem in the cabs of modern locomotives. The train crash in California in 2008 points all too clearly to the dangers of distraction inside the cab, texting in this case. While many distracting activities associated with personal electronic devices can be outlawed, there are good reasons to consider introducing into the cab advances in technology such as Positive Train Control (PTC) that, despite their obvious benefits, can also potentially increase distraction. The Cab Technology Integration Laboratory (CTIL) at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center represents a unique opportunity to study the extent to which advanced locomotive cab displays are distracting. With this in mind, the project is proposing to develop a general protocol for identifying whether an interface inside the cab distracts engineers and, if so, just how much of an increase in risk it creates. The project will use a moving map display as a prototype for an interface (parts or all of which will be in future PTC displays). This research, and the research of others, indicates that the distribution of the glance durations away from the forward view is the key to understanding distraction. As such, the project will measure the eye movements of experienced engineers on a commuter run from Providence to Boston (or equivalent) where various events occur which require the engineer's full attention. The project will determine whether the percentage of especially long glances of the engineers using the moving map display is significantly greater than the same percentage of glances of the engineers without access to this display. The project will determine whether the engineers using the moving map display are more likely to miss critical events.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $120255.00
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    Department of Transportation
    1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Performing Organizations:

    New England University Transportation Center

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 40-279
    Cambridge, MA  United States  01239
  • Start Date: 20120101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160131
  • Source Data: RiP Project 33375

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01489794
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC01, UMAR24-17
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 15 2013 1:01AM