How technology can impact customer-facing train crew experiences?

Luis Cr Oliveira, Stewart Birrell, Rebecca Cain

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    40 Downloads (Pure)


    Customer-facing train crew members have to follow strict procedures to guarantee that trains are safe and run on time. They are also responsible for revenue protection and customer care. Human factors and ergonomics research are instrumental to understand the safety-critical aspects and improve work. We bring user experience research and personas to describe how train crew perceive their routines and how new technology may impact them. We conducted 7 hours of interviews and 30 hours of shadowing observations with the train crew (N = 22) to provide an understanding of who are they and to define their experiences. We present the crew’s current routines and created two personas to represent them. One is slightly reluctant to adopt the proposed technology, whereas the other is more accepting. Results indicate how such technology may affect crew work ergonomics and experiences, and suggest which valuable aspects should be maintained, for example the positive interactions with passengers. Practitioner summary: This study investigated the work routines of the customer-facing train crew. Interviews and shadowing were conducted with 22 crew from a large operator in the UK. Personas were created to represent them. Results show their preferred activities and how these would be affected by the introduction of new technology. Abbreviations: CH; customer host (onboard catering staff); DOO: driver-only operation; ETA: estimated time of arrival; PTI: platform-train interface; TM: train manager (onboard customer-facing authority); UCD: user-centred design; UX: user experience.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1101-1115
    Number of pages15
    Issue number9
    Early online date21 May 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ergonomics, on 11/06/2020, available online:

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Personas
    • user experience
    • crew
    • innovation
    • railways

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Human Factors and Ergonomics
    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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