Paper: Human factors and use of amusement ride control interfaces

Woodcock, K., 2014. Human factors and use of amusement ride control interfaces. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 4499–106.  Link

Amusement rides are a familiar form of recreation and an important component in the tourism industry, found in both fixed-site amusement parks and travelling carnivals. Standards governing design of the operator’s control interfaces are broad and provide little specific direction about ideal design. This paper describes existing interfaces and their use, reports on a heuristic evaluation of carnival interfaces, and describes differences in ride-operation tasks across the domain. Differences in the ride-operation task create different control interface priorities in different contexts. Prevention of slips is the interface priority for multiple-operator rides, where function allocation and automation reduce the control decision-making required. Interfaces in single-operator rides and control towers must support operators to diagnose and respond rapidly and effectively to infrequent exceptional situations, and prevent mistakes by assisting situation awareness and making responses intuitive, along with minimizing the potential for slips.

Author: Kathryn Woodcock

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, teaching, researching, and consulting in the area of human factors engineering / ergonomics particularly applied to amusement rides and attractions (, and to broader occupational and public safety issues of performance, error, investigation and inspection, and to disability and accessibility.