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Using the Critical Decision Method and Decision Ladders to analyse traffic incident management system issues

Cattermole, V, Horberry, T, Burgess-limerick, R, Wallis, G, Cloete, S (Peer reviewed)


ARSC conference 2015

Optimising the safety and effectiveness of road crash work environments is challenging. Factors such as traffic, time pressures, and resource shortages combine to provide a dangerous work environment. Added to this, the complexity and interaction of these factors makes it difficult to identify their relative impact. In order to comprehensively understand the source of threats to the safety and effectiveness of the traffic incident environment this study conducted a series of Critical Decision Method (CDM) interviews with operational experts in traffic incident management and the results of the interviews were mapped onto decision ladder templates. Eight operational officers from the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and RACQ's Traffic Response Unit were interviewed individually, allowing them to draw on examples from their own experience. Combining the two human factors tools yielded valuable information about decision making processes in the incident management environment. System issues identified in the analysis included intra and inter-agency communication, interoperability issues, training issues, lighting issues and issues with the uptake of technology. System support solutions aligning with the issues include options for possible training and procedural changes and reviews regarding technology, communication and vehicle lighting