Operator Fatigue Management (OFM) Program

Developing Tools to Manage Operator Fatigue

Operator fatigue is a critical safety issue that cuts across all modes and operations in the transportation industry. Every day, transportation operators and managers must cope with unusual and difficult work schedules and the reality of operator fatigue. Fatigue may produce physical and mental decrements in alertness, vigilance, and decision-making that can increase the risk of human error and result in fatalities and injuries. However, the incidence of fatigue is underestimated in virtually every transportation mode because it is hard to quantify and measure.

Recognizing that fatigue management requires major changes in both organizational culture and operator behavior, DOT modal administrations joined together to start a research initiative focused on these challenges- the DOT Operator Fatigue Management (OFM) Program. The Research and Innovative Technologies Administration (RITA), the Volpe Center's parent agency, manages the OFM Program under the auspices of the DOT's Human Factors Coordinating Committee (HFCC). This DOT-industry initiative brings together the expertise of government, industry, and labor to create tools to aid in understanding and managing operator fatigue. These new tools will help promote understanding and management of operator fatigue.

The OFM Program executed four public-private partnerships to develop non-prescriptive tools for operator fatigue management, with the intent that these tools are to be used by industry. Representatives of industry and labor are involved in the planning and field-testing stages of development, and many commercial carriers and government agencies are poised to use these tools as they become available. As they are completed, the tools are available to the public on this web site.

OFM Tools

Work Schedule Representation and Analysis Software (Ximes GmbH)

A software is designed to help managers and schedulers understand and objectively evaluate work schedules with regard to those characteristics that promote on-duty alertness. Version 1 of this tool is complete.

Business Case Development Tool (Temple University)

A set of case studies that document how different transportations industries and companies have been able to show a bottom-line effect of operator fatigue, and how they have obtained and used this information to justify the development and continuation of a fatigue management program. This tool is in development.

Fatigue Model Validation Procedure (SAIC)

A formalized set of procedures for validating the output of fatigue modeling tools. Separate procedures will be developed for the different uses of these output (i.e., accident investigation, scheduling, education, etc.). This is an ongoing project.

Fatigue Management Reference Guide (Battelle Memorial Laboratories)

A compendium of current science and practical information on approaches to fatigue management and mitigation in the transportation enterprise. This tool is complete. The Fatigue Management Reference Guide, the OFM Program's most recently completed tool, was finalized in January 2004 at a special meeting attended by project representatives from both the DOT and the Department of Homeland Security.

Operator Fatigue Management Team (OFM) Members

Michael K. Coplen, OFM Team Lead
Federal Railroad Administration
Human Factors Program, RDV-32
Office of Research and Development 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Room W25-225
Washington, DC 20590
V. 202-493-6346

Stephen M. Popkin, OFM Team Lead
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Operator Performance and Safety Analysis Division, RTV-4G
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142
V. 617-494-3532, F. 617-494-3622

Robert J. Carroll
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Office of Research and Technology (MC-RTR)
400 Virginia Ave. SW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20024
V. 202 385-2388 F. 202 385-2422

Thomas M. Granda
Federal Highway Administration, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
Traffic Safety Division Human Centered Systems, HRDS-07
Office of Safety, Research and Development
6300 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22101-2296
V. 202-493-3365 F. 202-493-3374

Max Kieba
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
Office of Pipeline Safety, PHP-1
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Room E22-319, Washington, DC 20590
V. 202-493-0595

Charles M. Overbey
Senior Scientific and Technical Advisor for Human Factors
Human Factors Research and Engineering Group, AJP-6100
Federal Aviation Administration, ATO-P
800 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20591
V.202-267-7938 F. 202-267-5797

Thomas G. Raslear
Federal Railroad Administration
Human Factors Program, RDV-32
Office of Research and Development 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Room W25-225
Washington, DC 20590
V. 202-493-6356

Paul Rau
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Room W46-418
Washington, DC 20590
V. 202-366-0418

Todd Ripley
Office of Associate Administrator for Financial Approvals and Cargo Preference
Maritime Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Room W25-225
Washington, DC 20590
V. 202-366-2625 F. 202-493-9580

Pik K. Rivera
United States Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security
Office of Safety and Environmental Health (G-WKS)
2100 2nd St., SW, Washington, DC 20593