Human Factors and Sustainable Safety

Background

The Human Factors and Sustainable Safety group explores the interface between people and technology within complex and dynamic environments. We focus on understanding the system surrounding the individual, and the factors that support and constrain safety behaviour. Our research and consultancies extend to the safety of people at work and the land transport environment and focus on identifying practicable and feasible solutions to help organisations, regulatory agencies and government bodies address their safety needs. The group has a psychology background, applying systems thinking in industries including transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and construction.

Expertise and Resources

Team members are key experts in the following areas:

  • Workplace road safety;
  • Workplace safety and safety leadership;
  • Human factors/ergonomics;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Road user simulation and automated driving;
  • Intelligent and connected vehicles;
  • Motorcycle safety;
  • Driver cognition and motivation;
  • Aggressive driving;
  • Driving related anxiety;
  • Vulnerable road user safety;
  • Injury prevention in Low and Middle Income Countries

The team uses a variety of methods to understand systems under investigation, including on-road testing, driving simulation, surveys, crash investigations, vehicle performance testing, participatory ergonomics design, structured interviews, stakeholder consultation and human factors methods, such as cognitive task analysis, and interface and usability assessment.

Our simulation facilities, vehicles and capabilities allow us to use a controlled, safe environment to investigate factors that influence road user behaviour and performance:

  • A portable STIsim driving simulator that can easily be transported to other locations, allowing us to test driving at workplaces, exhibitions and conferences using simulated scenarios that can be designed to represent your specific driver needs and environments. This might be long rural drives or short high-density drives. The simulator also has the capacity to test, and train all levels of autonomous driving, making this an ideal tool for research and training related to workplace needs
  • A motorbike simulator: developed in conjunction with Italian rider safety researchers
  • A cycle simulator that uses Virtual Reality technology
  • A truck simulator with full truck cab
  • A vehicle automation simulator for investigating issues such as resumption of control from automated to manual driving
Simulator

Evidence-based programs to improve safe driving

We have developed a suite of evidence-based programs to improve safe driving in the community and the workplace. These programs are unique in that they target drivers’ attitudes and motivation states. We achieve this by using evaluation tools and behaviour change techniques to (i) challenge drivers’ key beliefs regarding unsafe driving and (ii) help drivers generate their own strategies to avoid situations of unsafe driving in their future driving.

The programs are designed to challenge a range of unsafe driving behaviours identified in the workforce (click here for our workplace road safety development programs) and target unsafe on-road behaviours, such as aggressive driving. Our Reducing Aggressive Driving (RAD) program has been delivered to 94 community drivers, with evaluation data showing significant and sustained reductions in anger and aggressive driving. Click here to access an overview of the RAD program.

Key Areas of Research Focus

  • Development of system-thinking tools to investigate incidents resulting in injury to a staff member including incidents involving workplace violence and aggression, work-related driving crashes (light vehicles) and patient handling;
  • Development of a safety program for incident responders on high-speed roads;
  • Working closely with the NRSPP to identify emerging trends in the safety of those who drive a vehicle for work-related purposes;
  • The cognition and motivation behind unsafe cycling and driving behaviours;
  • Developing a deeper understanding of driver anxiety and avenues to support anxious drivers;
  • Reducing aggressive driving on our roads;
  • Simulator studies using our car, motorcycle, bike, automation and truck simulator platforms;
  • The safety benefits of vehicle automation;
  • Safe design of equipment, tasks, and systems;
  • Impairment related to alcohol/drugs and fatigue/drowsiness;
  • Driver/operator decision-making, error and situation awareness;
  • Driver and pedestrian distraction related to in-vehicle devices and external sources;
  • The design and evaluation of advanced driver assistance systems and information systems, including driver acceptance of in-vehicle technology;
  • The influence of road signage and infrastructure design on road safety;
  • Development of methods to model operator performance in complex systems;
  • Vehicle and train cabin ergonomics;
  • Understanding the role of self-regulation in moderating distracted driving;
  • Australian Naturalistic Driving Study (ANDS)

Outcomes

Across all areas of safety, we provide solutions and policy guidance for our partners and clients. Our research addresses real world needs and meets strict academic quality standards.

In transport safety, we adopt the Safe Systems approach, to deliver a wide range of solutions to prevent road crashes.

Within workplaces, we adopt system-thinking models and methods, to optimise safety within complex sociotechnical environments.

Partnerships

We regularly collaborate with domestic and international partners across state and federal government, as well as industry leaders in roads, healthcare, workplace safety, defence and mining.

We have developed strong relationships with more than 25 collaborators and partners across Australia, France, Sweden, the UK, Spain, the USA and the Netherlands.

Recent collaborators and partners

  • Eastlink
  • Emergency services Victoria
  • Healthcare agencies across Australia
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, USA
  • WorkSafe Victoria
  • Cambridge University, UK
  • Seeing Machines
  • Transport Research Laboratory, UK
  • VicRoads
  • University of Queensland
  • Transport Accident Commission (TAC)
  • Department of Justice (Vic)
  • Coventry University, UK
  • Victoria Police
  • Austroads
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Gustave Eiffel, France