How technology can impact customer-facing train crew experiences?

Luis Cr Oliveira, Stewart Birrell, Rebecca Cain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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 Sep 2020


  • Personas
  • user experience
  • crew
  • innovation
  • railways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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