Using Light to Reduce Fatigue and Improve Alertness in Railway Operations

With the advent and increasing prevalence of automatic train operation systems, dispatch centers are becoming more central to railway transportation worldwide. Railway operation is, however, highly susceptible to the detrimental effects of sleepiness causing severe nighttime fatigue and related impairment of work performance among dispatchers. A novel approach to mitigate the effect of sleepiness on duty is the use of light, which can elicit an acute alerting response from humans at any time of day or night. The primary objective of this research project is to test and demonstrate the effectiveness and the acceptability of combined red and white light for increasing alertness and improving performance in a simulated dispatch work environment laboratory study using objective (i.e., electroencephalogram) and subjective (i.e., Karolinska Sleepiness Scale) measures of alertness and objective measures of short-term performance (i.e., auditory–visual performance testing). This project will lay the foundation for evaluating lighting interventions in the railroad environment and provide potential benefits that can be translated to support accident prevention strategies and policies that might help reduce the social and economic consequences of accidents.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $99400
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 40

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Safety Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA)

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Fitzpatrick, Velvet

  • Performing Organizations:

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • Principal Investigators:

    Figuiero, Mariana

  • Start Date: 20190425
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01705887
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 40
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 27 2019 3:05PM