From the seat to the system: Re-designing a tram drivers' workstation combining technical and contextual aspects

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, ridership - drivers, infrastructure - vehicle


Tram workstation, Activity-oriented approach, Systems' perspective, Contextual factors, Stakeholders


Through the detailed account of a design case-study, the paper aims to demonstrate how the activity-oriented approach promotes a systems perspective in ergonomics interventions. Specifically, by presenting an activity-oriented re-design of a tram drivers' workstation, it is shown: (i) how technical and contextual aspects were jointly considered, (ii) how their combination affects workers' activity in a non-trivial manner, and (iii) how this system level view helped generate feasible and sustainable design solutions. First, the activity-oriented theoretical lens is briefly presented, followed by the analysis of the tram driving activity, emphasizing on drivers' efforts to compensate for the original work-system design flaws. Next, key elements of the re-design process are presented, through a concept map, combining technical and contextual aspects, coupled with an account of stakeholder debates and resolution processes. The paper ends with a discussion on the lessons learned, concerning the adopted approach for design interventions in real work situations.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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