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There are various sources of distractions in control centres, ambient conversation in the control centre being a necessary one. However, when distraction leads to a disruption of the operator’s ongoing work, this may pose a problem.


In a control centre, operators constantly monitor a number of sources of information to complete their mental model of the current situation.


The challenge is to design, e.g., audio notifications for a suite of multiple applications, not for a single stand-alone application.


The system shall support them by offering meaningful clues on each sensory channel.

Audible system notifications shall be designed such that it is possible for the operator to distinguish safety-relevant operational notifications and messages not related to railway operations, for instance, status reports by the system.

Visual notfications similarly shall employ a clear visual hierarchy to support distinction of safety-relevant operational messages from other indications.

Usability Impact

Error prevention, cognitive load, user satisfaction

Safety Impact

Leveraging the concept of distraction in safe systems design can improve the operator’s mental model of the current situation and direct attention to potentially hazardous situations and events.

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