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Center for Transportation Studies


Automation Mania in the Time of Reason: Considerations for Complex Transportation Problems

Thursday, November 18

Part of the Fall 2010 Advanced Transportation Technologies Seminar Series.

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Presentation slides

About the Seminar

Despite a solid body of evidence about distraction and its risks, automobile manufacturers now allow you to update your Facebook page while driving. Positive Train Control systems have been mandated for implementation, yet there has been little if any attempt to understand the new roles of the human operator given the aggressive time frame in which the system must be in operation. There is a similar concern about the NextGen air transport system, which is supposed to revolutionize how flights are managed and flown.

Developing the system architecture is the straightforward part. Understanding the myriad of human and policy implications is much more complex, but it is foundational and necessary if the system is to be safe and realize its intended potential. This presentation develops an approach to understanding the application of automation technology through three interdependent models: sociotechnical, human systems integration, and formative evaluation.


Stephen Popkin, Director, Human Factors Research and System Applications Center of Innovation, Volpe Center, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)

More Information

Contact Shawn Haag, 612-625-5608 or