EMIL ALEX 2018

The WAP-4 is the workhorse of the Indian Railways Passenger Division. The Pilot's cabin and the control panel have stayed the same since the launch of the WAP-4 locomotive and an overhaul was commissioned in 2010. An improved control panel was necessary to lower the learning curve for new pilots and co-pilots as well as to reduce the operation fatigue on extended segments.

As the roles and corresponding duties of the pilot and co-pilot evolved over the years in tune with developments to the overall system, the control panel stayed the same. Through in-depth field research, usability issues, deterrents of efficiency and opportunities for improvement were identified in the realms of physical, spatial and cognitive ergonomics. 

New layouts of the control panel were envisioned, prototyped and tested to facilitate a streamlined workflow of operations in a sequential order. Cabin space was redesigned to accommodate specific needs pertaining to the operational tasks of both the pilot and the co-pilot.

The redesigned control panel reduced operational fatigue by 15% and slashed the emergency reaction time by a factor of two. Usability testing was conducted by the Indian Railways Pilot Training department using both pilots and co-pilots in the training simulator at the Vadodara facility of the Western Railways Division.

TEAM

Emil Alex

Mihir Laghate

Prateek Upreti

MY ROLE

User Researcher

Interaction Designer

Physical Prototyping Lead

TOOLS AND METHODOLOGIES

Field Research / Crew Interviews / Footplate Trips / Contextual Inquiry / Ergonomic Analysis / Task Analysis  / Rapid Prototyping / User Testing / CAD 

THE CHALLENGE

Introduced in 1994, the WAP-4 has become the mainstay passenger locomotive of the Indian Railways. However, the controls panels and the pilot's cabin provide less than ideal working conditions for the pilot and co-pilot. The project was initiated as an effort by the Indian Railways and the National Institute of Design to redesign the pilot's operational experience of the locomotive.
 
 

THE CONTEXT

SCOPING THE AREAS OF WORK
PROJECT OBJECTIVES

THE SYSTEM

MAPPING THE EXISTING SYSTEM
  • 1:6 Scale model of the Locomotive Cabin Control Panel.

  • Redesigned controls, indicators, seating and storage sections