Training system redesign. In a related effort, done jointly with Northwestern's Institute for Learning Sciences, the traditional lecture and practice training program for new directory assistants was replaced by an ergonomically designed computer-based training program that incorporates a simulated work environment and error feedback. As a result, operator training time has been reduced from five days to one and a half days (Scott Lively, personal communication).
Center high-mounted automobile rear stop lamp. The center high-mounted stop lamp (CHML) is perhaps the best-known ergonomic improvement to a widely used consumer product. In the 1970s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored two field research programs that demonstrated the potential of adding a CHML to reduce response times of following drivers and, thus, avoid accidents. In the mid-1970s, this ergonomic innovation and three other configurations were installed in 2,100 Washington, D.C.-area taxicabs. The CHML configuration resulted in a 50% reduction in both rear-end collisions and collision severity. Following several additional field studies, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 was modified to require all new passenger cars built after 1985 to have CHMLs.
Based on analyses of both actual production costs for the CHMLs and actual accident data for the 1986 and 1987 CHML- equipped cars, NHTSA calculated that when all cars are CHML equipped (1997), 126,000 reported crashes will be avoided annually at a property damage savings of $910 million per year. Addition of the savings in medical costs would, of course, considerably increase this figure. The total cost of the entire research program was $2 million and for the regulatory program, $3 million (Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, 1989). A $5 million dollar investment for a projected $910 million annual return: not a bad ergonomics investment by the federal gove
Contact: Lois Smith
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society