The safety of road users within road systems has been a burning public health issue since road accident became the highest cause of death in urban areas. This trend has informed a number of studies carried out to critically review the trend in road traffic accidents and road safety approaches with a view to identifying underlying and systemic problems giving way for the high rate of road crashes. This study aims to identify and analyze the inherent problems associated with road usage and specify how roadway elements can best support road users in improving performance. Data were gathered through observational studies of selected road usage scenarios and interviews of road users. A set of human factors methods and Applied Cognitive Work Analysis (ACWA) framework was used to exhaustively examine the human-roadway system interaction for tasks-system constraints and possible human errors. The results showed that constraints and demands faced by road users within the road system determine their safety when navigating the roadways. In particular, advertorial billboards around critical sections of the roadway affect the cognitive workload of road users and ultimately their performance. The analyses also produced Representation Design Requirements (RDR) specifying ways to support road users in decision-making performance through affordances and driving decision aids, which informs the design of training requirements for drivers, intelligent transport systems, roadway signage, vehicle cockpits, roadway layout and other roadway elements. To effectively design roadway systems in improving the safety of road users, sufficient human factors information and concepts can be generated by the results of carefully selected human factors analysis methods integrated into the road system design cycle/process.
With the growing complexity of our facilities and about 90% of industrial accidents traceable to human errors, integrating human factors into facilities design and construction has become imperative. Although, human errors are not the root cause of these accidents, a deficient system made the human error possible leading to disasters. In today’s design world, human factors integration into design is all about designing the facilities to make human error almost impossible (i.e. make it difficult for operators to make mistake that will lead to a disaster by using human-oriented displays/controls, interlock systems etc.). Before these human-oriented elements are designed, human factors analyses need to be done to determine possible error scenarios and error resilience of the systems. The results of these analyses are then integrated into the design of the facilities to enhance safety and human performance. This is why human factors analysis has now become an important part of safety and risk management. In spite of this new focus on human factors integration, there is still a lot of confusion and misunderstanding universally on how this can be adopted by companies using a generic framework for consistent application. This is as a result of absence of common approach from industries. To analyze complex novel or existing socio-technical systems, human factors experts tends to apply set(s) of methodologies that will give sufficient human factors information for safer systems design.
This paper presents how optimal human performance and safety can be achieved by incorporating Applied Cognitive Work Analysis (ACWA) methodology as a design and analysis tool within the human factors integration efforts during design/analysis of complex novel or existing socio-technical systems. An exploratory analysis of road system using Applied Cognitive Work Analysis (ACWA) with a view to identifying the constraints faced by road users in interacting with the road systems shows how roadway elements can best be designed to support road users in improving performance and enhancing safety.