Alion Science and Technology has won a $10m contract from the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to study human performance in rail operations and maintenance.
Under a five-year contract, the company will provide technical expertise to FRA's Human Factors Research Division with the aim of reducing human factors in train, trespasser and grade crossing accidents.
The deal will see Alion provide technical assistance and recommendations to FRA on how to reduce the number of accidents after assessing the agency's equipment and technology, organisational culture and behaviour, policies and system performance.
FRA said that its Human Factors Research Division has already helped in reducing accidents by more than 50% since 2005.
Alion senior vice president and manager of the Distributed Simulation group Terri Spoonhour said with all the technology onboard current passenger and freight trains, as well as at control centres, people still play a major role in preventing accidents.
"People can get distracted or need to make quick decisions based on the unexpected, from weather to track conditions, to trespassers or cars approaching crossings," Spoonhour said.
"By measuring how people work in their real-world environment, cost-effective changes can be made to improve both performance and safety," he added.
Work under the indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity contract is expected to be completed by 14 May 2017.