The Secretary of Transportation established the Human Factors Working Group (HFCC) in 1991 to become the focal point for human factors issues within DOT. Since its inception, the HFCC, a multi-modal team with government-wide liaisons, has successfully addressed crosscutting human factors issues in transportation. The Committee has influenced the implementation of human factors projects within and between modal administrations, provided a mechanism for exchange of human factors (and related) technical information among modal administrations and provided synergy and continuity in implementing transportation human factors research. Its exemplary work was recognized by the Research and Innovative Technologies Administration (RITA) in creating seven additional Intermodal Research Working Groups modeled after the HFCC in 2007.
DOT recognizes that many human performance issues are crosscutting and will benefit from a multi-modal approach. DOT needs coordinated human factors research to permit large research efforts that modes cannot support individually, to address multi-modal transportation issues, as well as to advocate for timely human factors research in transportation system solutions.
The HFCC uses its team process to maintain a current list of salient human factors issues. This process resulted in the HFCC identifying the impact of fatigue on safety critical operator performance as an issue in all modes of transportation. Based on this, the HFCC created the multi-modal Operator Fatigue Management (OFM) program, which is funded through direct contributions from the modal administrations.
The continued active participation of DOT modal agencies and government organizations external to DOT uses a voluntary team approach to enhance human factors in the safety, security, and accessibility of the US transportation system to the public. This interagency cooperation also provides opportunities to leverage agency funds. This ensures the most efficient use of government resources to meet the DOT's and the nation's needs.
The HFCC members have been designated as the human factors points of contact for their agency. In addition to the modal representatives, the HFCC maintains a network of affiliates which represents the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the National Transportation Safety Board, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Department of Homeland Security; the US Coast Guard; the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Commerce.