Systems Safety


The 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 extends to the safety of people at work and the land transport environment, and focuses on identifying practicable and feasible solutions to help organisations, regulatory agencies and government bodies address their safety needs. The group thinks in systems 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;
  • Vehicle safety;
  • Motorcycle safety, and;
  • Driver anger, aggression and anxiety.

The team uses a variety of methods to understand systems under investigation, including on-road testing, 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 are unmatched in Australia

We have simulation facilities to investigate factors that influence road user behaviour and performance:

  • A full car (Holden) simulator with new software and functionality that includes a motion platform, 3D sound, eye tracking and advanced driver behaviour monitoring systems
  • 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
  • A portable car simulator that can easily be transported to other locations

Key Areas of Research Focus

  • Development of system-thinking injury investigations toolkits
  • Workplace road safety development programs
  • Development of a safety program for incident responders on high-speed roads
  • Workplace road safety
  • Simulator studies using our car, motorcycle, bike, automation and truck simulator platforms
  • The safety benefits of vehicle automation and new technologies
  • 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)


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.


MUARC has conducted highly-respected and influential research for over 30 years. 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, 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