Van den Top, J. and B.M. Steenhuisen: Understanding ambiguously structured rail traffic control practices, pp. 148-161. In: International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management, Vol. 9, No. 2 (2009). [s.l.]: Inderscience, 2009. ISSN (Online): 1741-5292 - ISSN (Print): 1468-4322. International Journal.
The rail system displays a high number of dynamic interdependencies among trains, signals, switches and the many controllers and staff who operate them. Consequently, these operators face many trade-offs for critical values such as safety and reliability. We studied these issues from the operator’s perspective. We found that operators cope with problems using a wide variety of strategies, especially with respect to the cooperation with colleagues in different roles. The current efforts to manage and innovate traffic control practices should be based on a thorough understanding of actual practices and problems. We show that these problems tend to be paradoxical. In conclusion, we draw up recommendations on how to improve these operational practices on the basis of our empirical observations.