The European railway sector is a continually growing economic area and recent years have brought significant developments in rail technology. Responding to these tendencies, the EU is aiming at enhancing rail safety as well as improving the harmonisation and interoperability between railway systems. The establishment of safe, competitive and interoperable railways in Europe demands particular attention to the qualification of train drivers.
2TRAIN particularly focuses on the development and evaluation of computer-based training systems. At present 133 000 train drivers are employed in the EU-25. Working directly at the human-machine interface they are specifically affected by technical developments and the increasing amount of cross-border operations. To strengthen harmonisation, it is necessary to advance training technology as well as training content. Developments concerning these two aspects are the scientific and technological objectives of 2TRAIN as, until now, no broad effort concerning the training of train drivers in Europe has existed.
A complete harmonisation of training technology and training content is unachievable. Nevertheless there is a strong need to harmonise and coordinate the education of drivers with regard to general driving and operational abilities, as well as particular crisis management competencies.
2TRAIN had two main objectives:
- The first objective was to reach a maximum utilisation of the latest computer-based training technology and to develop a modular platform in order to enable the integration of these technological solutions in existing training environments throughout Europe.
- The second objective was to increase the train drivers' competency in crisis management by defining and realising appropriate human factor training scenarios that were evaluated and validated within the demonstration phase.
In order to reach the objectives 2TRAIN carried out the following work packages:
- benchmarking training technologies and training and assessment curricula in today's Europe;
- specification requirements for future training;
- development of training contents (human factors training for dealing with rarely occurring and especially hazardous situations);
- development of training and assessment methods (computer-based tools including simulation, enabling technologies) that are based on a common data interface;
- evaluation of the developed methods in pilot studies (training effects, acceptance).
At the end of the project, 2TRAIN delivered a European best-practice guideline for efficient, safety enhancing and cost-effective use of modern technologies for the training of train drivers as well as for ongoing competence and performance assessment.
The starting point of 2TRAIN was the benchmarking of training tools and technologies as well as training contents and models already in use in different European countries. As a first step, a short questionnaire was developed and sent to railway undertakings in Europe. After the analysis of the results of this first questionnaire, a sample of 18 railway companies representing 80 000 train drivers were selected for more detailed face-to-face interviews and key questions forms were developed. The results of the benchmarking process fed the specification of the detailed project contents. Based on the answers of the railway companies and the discussions with the representatives of the companies, the requirements for future computer-based train driver training were specified.
A further task of the specification process was the application of the specified training contents by developing training situations that were realised in simulator scenarios and CBT modules. After implementation, these scenarios and modules are used during demonstration activities of the project. Taking into account existing European differences concerning rules and regulations 2TRAIN focuses particularly on training content related to crisis management competencies. Due to the current individual company standards in training technology a universal simulator for all European countries is not realistic. Instead, a common data simulation interface was developed within 2TRAIN to allow standardised data recording and to provide the opportunity to implement add-on systems.
Add-on tools for simulators - rule based expert system (ExSys), virtual instructor (VI), and assessment database (AssDB) - were developed. The ExSys defines and stores the target behaviour (i.e. correct behaviour) of the train driver for different scenarios. The VI is responsible for running the assessment procedure online. Therefore, the VI receives the data about the actual behaviour of the train driver during the simulator exercise from the CDSI and compares it with the target behaviour and assessment rules from the Ex-Sys. The resulting assessment data (e.g. driving deviations, errors, reaction times) are stored in the AssDB. The assessment data that are stored in the AssDB in a standardised form s
The demonstrations and the feedback by train drivers, instructors, and training managers has proven that the 2TRAIN system for assessment and training of train drivers can be implemented on existing simulators throughout Europe. The 2TRAIN tools can be considered as a modular package able to interact with very different systems. Beyond the purely technical success, the feedback from intended end users is extremely positive. All in all, the results were very positive and showed that the developed technology is accepted by train drivers and instructors / trainers and has the potential to enhance the quality of training and assessment.