Towards a knowledge-based approach for effective decision making in railway safety

Alexeis Garcia-Perez, Siraj A. Shaikh, Harsha Kalutarage, M. Jahantab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
182 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This paper contributes towards understanding how safety knowledge can be elicited from railway experts for the purposes of supporting effective decision making. Design/methodology/approach: A consortium of safety experts from across the British railway industry is formed. Collaborative modelling of the knowledge domain is used as an approach to the elicitation of safety knowledge from experts. From this a series of knowledge models is derived to inform decision making. This is achieved by using Bayesian networks as a knowledge modelling scheme underpinning a safety prognosis tool to serve meaningful prognostics information and visualise such information to predict safety violations. Findings: Collaborative modelling of safety-critical knowledge is a valid approach to knowledge elicitation and its sharing across the railway industry. This approach overcomes some of the key limitations of existing approaches to knowledge elicitation. Such models become an effective tool for prediction of safety cases by using railway data. This is demonstrated using Passenger-Train Interaction safety data. Practical implications: This study contributes to practice in two main directions: by documenting an effective approach to knowledge elicitation and knowledge sharing, while also helping the transport industry to understand safety. Social implications: By supporting the railway industry in their efforts to understand safety this research has the potential to benefit railway passengers, staff and communities in general, which is a priority for the transport sector. Originality/value: This research applies a knowledge elicitation approach to understanding safety based on collaborative modelling, which is a novel approach in the context of transport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-659
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2015

Bibliographical note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • knowledge elicitation
  • knowledge transfer
  • knowledge modelling
  • rail transport
  • railway safety


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