Application of a systems-theoretic approach to risk analysis of high-speed rail project management in the US
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.
Nancy G. Leveson and Joseph M. Sussman.
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High-speed rail (HSR) is drawing attention as an environmentally-friendly transportation mode, and is expected to be a solution for socio-technical transportation issues in many societies. Currently, its market has been rapidly expanding all over the world. In the US, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a strategic vision to develop new HSRs in 2008, specifically focusing on 10 corridors, including the Northeast Corridor (NEC) from Boston to Washington D.C. With such rapid growth, safety is a growing concern in HSR projects; in fact, there have been two HSR accidents over the past three years. In developing a new HSR system, it is crucial to conduct risk analysis based on lessons learned from these past accidents. Furthermore, for risk analysis of complex socio-technical systems such as HSR systems, a holistic system-safety approach focusing not only on physical domains but also on institutional levels is essential. With these perspectives, this research proposes a new system-based safety risk analysis methodology for complex socio-technical systems. This methodology is based on the system safety approach, called STAMP (System-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes). As a case study, the proposed HSR project in the NEC is analyzed by this methodology. This methodology includes steps of conducting STAMP-based accident analysis, developing a safety model of the HSR system in the NEC, and analyzing safety risks of it based on lessons learned from the analyzed accidents, with a specific focus on the institutional structure. As a result of this analysis, 58 NEC-specific risks are identified, and with them, weaknesses of safety-related regulations applied to the project are discussed. Additionally, this research introduces System Dynamics to analyze further detailed causal relations of the identified risks and discusses its potential usage for risk analysis. Thus, this thesis research concludes with specific recommendations about safety management in the project in the NEC, making a point that the proposed methodology can be valuable for the actual project processes as a "safety-guided institutional design" tool.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, 2014.125Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 183-189).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering Systems Division.