Vol. 3, Issue 9 (2016)
Contribution of chronobiology vigilance in public transport safety
Author(s): Dr. Habib Hadj Mabrouk
Abstract: Chronobiologia studies human biological rates including alertness and performance. The analysis of human alertness rates shows that hypoalertness episodes occur at foreseeable periods in the daytime. The alertness drop of the human operator is one the main causes of road accidents. It also often leads to rail transport incidents and accidents. The peak of accidents risk through hypoalertness has been detected in the middle of the afternoon, late at night and early in the morning, which complies with the circadian patterns of drowsiness. As far as we know, in the field of rail transport safety, the chronobiological aspect of alertness has not yet been addressed. However, the rotation rate of the human operators work schedules sets the same problem as shift work. To take into account the chronobiological data can improve safety, proposing solutions to adapt work schedules to the circadian changes of the human operator functional capacities. To determine the times of best performance by the human operator and to make them match his work schedules improves the reliability of the man-machine system and reduces the risk of accident. This study gives an overview of alertness and performance chronobiologia, an analysis of the contribution of these notions in road transport safety, and presents a methodological approach to be applied to the concepts linked with alertness chronobiologia for a better guided rail and transport systems safety.