Using naturalistic decision making to identify support requirements in the traffic incident management work environment

Vanessa T. Cattermole, Timothy Horberry, Maureen Hassall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The road crash environment is a complex, dynamic, and dangerous workplace for responders at the scene. Decisions made by senior officers from responder agencies can alter the survival outcomes of road crash victims and the safety of responder crews. Although no previous studies have utilized naturalistic decision making principles to research traffic incident management, the characteristics of the workplace seem ideally suited to it. This study used critical decision method (CDM) interviews and the recognition-primed decision model to analyze decisions made by experienced senior responders at traffic incidents. CDM interviews were conducted with officers from three agencies: police, emergency services, and road authority traffic officers. The results revealed useful and novel information about the traffic incident management system, for example, interagency coordination issues. The process identified key decision points at incidents as well as countermeasures to the identified issues using decision-centered design. These countermeasures were subsequently validated by subject matter experts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-324
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • accident analysis
  • analysis methods
  • cognitive models
  • crisis response
  • decision making
  • expert performance
  • naturalistic decision making
  • recognition-primed decision making

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