A Primer on the Human Readiness Level Scale (ANSI/HFES 400-2021)

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Kelly SteelmanHolly Handley

Abstract: The Human Readiness Level (HRL) Scale is a simple 9-level scale for evaluating, tracking, and communicating the readiness of a technology for safe and effective human use. It is modeled after the well-established Technology Readiness Level (TRL) framework that is used throughout the government and industry to communicate the maturity of a technology and to support decision making about technology acquisition. The TRL framework, however, does not consider the technology’s readiness for human use. As human error is implicated in 60-90% of incidents and accidents across a range of domains, it is critical to consider a technology’s human readiness alongside its technological maturity. The HRL scale was developed to address this need and to complement and supplement the TRL. In 2019, Drs. See (Sandia National Laboratories) and Handley (HFES Science Policy Fellow; Old Dominion University) formed a working group of practitioners across DoD, industry, and academia to mature the HRL concept; evaluate its usability, reliability, and validity; and develop a standard. The resulting ANSI/HFES 400-2021 Standard defines the HRL scale and provides guidance on how to apply them within a system development process. The standard provides questions to guide evaluation activities, with exit criteria and examples of the supporting evidence required to progress from one level to the next. The HRLs map on to three phases of the development process: Basic Research and Development (HRL 1-3), Technology Demonstrations (HRL 4-6), and Full-Scale Testing, Production, and Deployment (HRL 7-9):HRL 1: Basic principles for human characteristics, performance, and behavior observed and reportedHRL 2: Human-centered concepts, applications, and guidelines definedHRL 3: Human-centered requirements to support human performance and human-technology interactions establishedHRL 4: Modeling, part-task testing, and trade studies of human systems design concepts and applications completedHRL 5: Human-centered evaluation of prototypes in mission relevant part-task simulations completed to inform designHRL 6: Human systems design fully matured and demonstrated in a relevant high-fidelity, simulated environment or actual environmentHRL 7: Human systems design fully tested and verified in operational environment with system hardware and software and representative usersHRL 8: Human systems design fully tested, verified, and approved in mission operations, using completed system hardware and software and representative usersHRL 9: System successfully used in operations across the operational envelope with systematic monitoring of human system performance The proposed presentation is part of an HFES initiative to socialize HRLs within the government, industry, and academia. The presentation will provide concrete examples drawn from the transportation sector to illustrate how HRLs can be applied throughout a human systems integration process.ReferencesHFES/ANSI (2021). Human Readiness Level Scale in the System Development Process (ANSI/HFES 400-2021). Retrieved from https://www.hfes.org/publications/technical-standardsSalazar, G., See, J. E., Handley, H. A., & Craft, R. (2020, December). Understanding human readiness levels. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 64, No. 1, pp. 1765-1769). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.See, J. E. (2021). Human Readiness Levels Explained. Ergonomics in Design, 10648046211017410.

Keywords: Human Readiness Levels, Human Systems Integration, Transportation, Standards

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002448

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