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Influence of stationary lateral vibrations on train passengers' ability to read and write
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, Railway Technology.
2008 (English)In: Applied Ergonomics, ISSN 0003-6870, E-ISSN 1872-9126, Vol. 39, no 6, 710-718 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent studies on train passengers’ activities found that many passengers were engaged in some form of work, e.g. reading and writing, while traveling by train. A majority of the passengers reported that they were disturbed by vibrations or motions during their journey. A laboratory study was therefore set up to study how stationary low-frequency lateral vibrations influence the difficulty to read and write. The study involved 48 subjects (24f+24m) divided into three age groups. Two levels of sinusoidal vibrations were applied at nine discrete frequencies (0.8–8.0 Hz). Subjects performed both reading and writing tasks under two sitting positions (leaning against the backrest and leaning over a table). The judgments of perceived difficulty to read and write were rated using Borg's CR-100 scale. The results showed significant differences between the tasks and postural conditions. The subjects reported greater difficulty while reading and writing on the table than while leaning back. The frequencies up to 5 Hz had a particular influence on the perceived difficulty.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 39, no 6, 710-718 p.
Keyword [en]
Lateral vibration, Reading, Writing, Difficulty
National Category
Vehicle Engineering Vehicle Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5757DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2007.11.009ISI: 000257904700005ScopusID: 2-s2.0-45249097606OAI: diva2:10234
Uppdaterad från submitted till published: 20100922 QC 20100922Available from: 2006-05-17 Created: 2006-05-17 Last updated: 2010-09-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Difficulties to Read and Write Under Lateral Vibration Exposure: Contextual Studies Of Train Passengers Ride Comfort
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Difficulties to Read and Write Under Lateral Vibration Exposure: Contextual Studies Of Train Passengers Ride Comfort
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Many people use the train both as a daily means of transport as well as a working place to carry out activities such as reading or writing. There are, however, several important factors in this environment that will hamper good performance of such activities. Some of the main sources of disturbance, apart form other train passengers, are noise and vibrations generated from the train itself.

Although there are standards available for evaluation of ride comfort in vehicles none of them consider the effects that vibrations have on particular passengers' activities.

To address these issues, three different studies were conducted to investigate how low frequency lateral vibrations influence the passengers' ability to read and write onboard trains.

The first study was conducted on three types of Inter-Regional trains during normal service and included both a questionnaire survey and vibration measurements. Two proceeding laboratory studies were conducted in a train mock-up where the perceived difficulty of reading and writing was evaluated for different frequencies and amplitudes. To model and clarify how vibrations influence the processes of reading and writing the fundamentals of Human Activity Theory was used as a framework in this thesis.

In the field study about 80% of the passengers were found to be reading at some point during the journey, 25% were writing by hand, and 14% worked with portable computers. The passengers applied a wide range of seated postures for their different activities.

According to the standardised measurements, even the trains running on poor tracks showed acceptable levels of vibration. However, when the passengers performed a short written test, over 60 % reported to be disturbed or affected by vibrations and noise in the train.

In the laboratory studies it was found that the difficulty in reading and writing is strongly influenced by both vibration frequency and acceleration amplitude. The vibration spectra of real trains were found to correspond well to the frequency characteristics of the rated difficulty. It was also observed that moderate levels of difficulty begin at fairly low vibration levels. Contextual parameters like sitting posture and type of activity also showed strong influence on how vibrations cause difficulty.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2006. 70 p.
Trita-AVE, ISSN 1651-7660 ; 2006:24
lateral vibrations, passenger activities, reading, writing, sitting posture, frequency weighting, rated difficulty, field study, laboratory study, transient vibrations, stationary vibrations.
National Category
Vehicle Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3974 (URN)91-7178-374-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-06-02, D3, Lindstedsvägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2006-05-17 Created: 2006-05-17 Last updated: 2010-09-22Bibliographically approved

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