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Insights Isn't it time we designed road safety around human nature?

Senior Human Factors Consultant Aston has always been passionate about making a positive difference in people's lives through her work in Human Factors and Behavioral Science. She leads in transforming transport by emphasizing safer, more inclusive people-centered solutions. In part 2 of Aston's blog series, we discover how her team is using human factors to add value to road safety:

Photo of Aston smiling towards the camera

How did you come to work for AtkinsRéalis?

I started at AtkinsRéalis as a graduate consultant in our Intelligent Mobility and Smart Technologies team—which I'm still in now. What caught my attention was how the team was keen to put people at the heart of transport and mobility. I had trained as a secondary school teacher before starting at AtkinsRéalis. I was looking for a role where I could continue to make a difference and keep learning.

Congratulations on achieving your Master’s degree. How did you manage studying in your demanding role?

Thank you, I recently completed a Master's in Ergonomics and Human Factors part-time alongside work. During my final year, I agreed with my line manager to condense my work hours between Mondays and Thursdays, saving Fridays for my dissertation. The arrangement enabled me to focus a full day on studying rather than squeezing it into my evenings. While I still had to study on the weekends, it helped my work-life balance. The qualification has made me feel more empowered and prepared to support clients. I wouldn't have been able to do this without the flexibility that AtkinsRéalis offered me.

You do a great deal of work in road safety. How does human factors add value?

Human factors can deepen our understanding of behaviors and inform targeted, impactful interventions. I recently worked on a project for a transport authority that aimed to enhance road safety and customer experience by exploring driver behavior and decision-making. Recognizing that behaviors and their influences are complex, this project focused on one—reducing breakdowns. Through the lens of behavioral science, we analyzed existing data and literature to see what influences breakdowns and what would help to reduce them. This enabled us to consider pre-journey factors leading to breakdowns and prioritize the interventions that would have the most impact.

"This project was a practical application of my academic learnings—in an area where human factors had not been used much before!"
—Aston, Senior Human Factors Consultant, UK

What did the team look like on this project?

We worked with colleagues across AtkinsRéalis with different specialisms, from data analysts to technology specialists and road safety experts. Having a wide network and strong relationships are really important for human factors practitioners, as we bring together multi-disciplinary teams to solve complex problems and design effective people-centered solutions.

Why is now the perfect time to join your team?

Human factors and behavioral science are really gaining traction in the transport sector. While human factors are established in industries like rail and aviation, we're expanding their application to highways, public transport, and sustainable transport, which presents unique challenges and opportunities. We have a strong pipeline of work to support this, working on exciting projects across a fantastic variety of clients.

Find a human factors job with us today.