Chicago-based Veolia Transportation said Thursday it would lead an ongoing study on engineer distraction conducted at the Volpe Institute of Transportation Studies in Massachusetts. Veolia’s George Elsmore will spearhead the effort, joined by Dr. Raja Parasuraman, a professor of psychology at George Mason University.
The study, sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration, was awarded to Veolia in June. It is designed to assess the factors contributing to the distraction of locomotive engineers during passenger rail service operations, and to develop a rigorous training program focused on techniques to mitigate distraction.
FRA will fund $250,000 for Veolia to conduct the study which will provide rail operators with a comprehensive training program focused on steps locomotive engineers can use to maintain attention and focus while operating a train.
Alion Science & Technology will design the software for the study, in collaboration with Dr. Parasuraman, Veolia, and officials from the Volpe Center. Locomotive engineers based in Boston and represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen will participate in the study, Veolia said.
Elsmore, former vice president of rail safety and compliance for Veolia, was selected to lead the study after decades of experience in the railroad industry at the state and federal level. “The safety of our passengers is of paramount importance to our operations throughout the company,” stated Mark Joseph, CEO of Veolia Transportation. “George Elsmore’s contribution to this important distraction study adds a ground level component to the issue of locomotive operations and how it affects engineers.”