Technical details
Sydney Trains
Human Factors

The New South Wales Government in Sydney recently opened a Rail Operations Centre (ROC) to modernise the control of Sydney’s rail network by amalgamating six control centres into one new state of the art facility. 


The Rail Operations Centre brings together a number of different roles and a variety of different systems into a single location, improving train service management, incident response and information to passengers.

In addition to the challenges associated with the introduction of the ROC, Sydney Trains introduced a new operating model to maximise the benefits of the new facility. SYSTRA personnel supported this change as part of the enabling project, Network Operations Reform (NOR). The NOR project established an interim operating state within the legacy Rail Management Centre (RMC), this included the introduction of a new organisational structure, new roles and operating procedures.


SYSTRA human factors specialists defined and managed the Human Factors Integration (HFI) activities for the ROC technologies, operating model and control systems. We facilitated a human centred design process to identify end-user needs early in the design, and an iterative design and testing approach to ensure the best possible fit between new technology and its end-users.

We employed a range of techniques to elicit end-user requirements throughout the design process. Observations and interviews with end-users were complemented by Day in the Life Of workshops and mock-up prototype reviews. Findings and end-user feedback was captured and used to generate system requirement. We led human factors System Integration Testing activities to evaluate user interfaces and operational process and demonstrate compliance with system requirements.

SYSTRA human factors specialists interfaced with operational readiness personnel to ensure HF issues and risks were adequately addressed by procedures and training.


Our early involvement in the Rail Operation Centre projects, and our involvement in the enabling NOR project, enabled us to embed human factors principles within every aspect of the ROC concept. We led consultations with end-users to ensure their needs were captured as system requirements and provided a participatory ergonomics forum in which the end-users engaged and took ownership of the project.

We followed a human centred design process to review concept solutions with end-user and stakeholder representatives. Each solution was assessed upon its ability to deliver business benefits, fulfil end-user requirements, and to demonstrate error tolerance and operating efficiency. The iterative design and testing approach enabled us to identify emergent user requirements and to develop and refine designs in response to end-user needs.