West Japan Railway used eye tracking technology with the aim of improving conductor training and increasing passenger safety. The insights it revealed were used to improve training methods for conductors.
JR-West’s conductors are responsible for passenger safety and must be trained on how to effectively check various areas of the platform. Because this task involves visual inspection providing a verbal explanation to new staff comes with some inherent limitations.
By using eye tracking JR-West was able to see the different visual attention patterns of experienced and novice conductors and use this information to improve training and assessment methods.
It was revealed that experienced conductors would alternate between looking at the platform and the check-use monitor when the doors close; making sure to clearly look at both. They also focused their attention towards the far end of the platform on both the monitor and the platform itself. In contrast, inexperienced conductors tended to look mainly along the platform, only glancing at the check-use monitor screen for an instant and predominantly focusing their attention at the near end of the platform.
This information was used in training videos for all staff, to make sure existing conductors fully understood methods of best practice and to ensure new hires received a more effective explanation of how to inspect the platform. It was also valuable for conductors to watch their own gaze patterns on film to get a deeper level of understanding into their own methods of inspection and make adjustments where necessary.