Ashleigh Filtness

Ashleigh Filtness

Senior Lecturer of Human Factors in Transport Safety

Loughborough University


Dr Ashleigh Filtness is a Senior Lecturer of Human Factors in Transport Safety at Loughborough University, UK. Ashleigh is fascinated by sleepiness and fatigue and their impact on safety. Her research seeks to understand which situations contribute to sleepiness/fatigue and how can these best be managed to reduce the impact on safety. Additionally she is interested in human factors of road and rail transport and has a wealth of experience of conducting industry and government funded projects seeking to improve safety.

Ashleigh balances her busy part time working with being mum to daughter Elysia. She and her husband Edd enjoy walking and share a passion for hot air ballooning. Ashleigh is an advocate for road safety, women in academia, dyslexia awareness, and support for ‘first in family’ to University.

Dr Filtness is avalible for consultancy research, she welcomes contact from interested organisations and potential Ph.D students.


  • PhD in Driver Sleepiness, 2011

    Loughborough University

  • Bachelor of Science, Human Biology (Honours), 2007

    Loughborough University

  • Diploma of Professional Studies, Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs, 2006

    3M Health Care Ltd

Research Interests

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Transport Safety

Occupational Safety

Rail Safety


Hot Air Ballooning Safety



Senior Lecturer of Human Factors in Transport Safety

Loughborough University School of Design and Creative Arts

Oct 2020 – Present Loughborough, UK

Responsibilities include:

  • Strategic leadership in School and Centre committee’s
  • Leading a team of researchers.
  • Supervision of students research projects.
  • Working on international research collaborations.
  • Teaching Undergraduate and Masters programmes.
  • Elected member of Loughborough Unviersity Senate
  • School outreach and athena SWAN involvement

Lecturer in Transport Safety

Loughborough University School of Design and Creative Arts

May 2018 – Sep 2020 Loughborough, UK

Responsibilities include:

  • Leading a team of researchers.
  • Supervision of students research projects.
  • Working on international research collaborations.
  • Teaching Undergraduate and Masters programmes.
  • Elected member of Loughborough Unviersity Senate
  • School outreach and athena SWAN involvement

Senior Research Associate (100% research)

Loughborough University Design School

Feb 2016 – Apr 2018 Loughborough, UK

Supervisor: Prof Pete Thomas

Responsibilities include:

  • Work Package leader on Horizon 2020 funded project SafetyCube.
  • Leading the Loughborough research involvement in all work packages.
  • Supervision of research staff.
  • Journal and conference paper submissions.

Research Fellow (100% research)

Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), Queensland University of Technology

Feb 2013 – Jan 2016 Brisbane, Australia

Supervisor: Prof Narelle Haworth

Responsibilities include:

  • Leading grant and tender applications to state and national funding schemes.
  • Project manager roles ensuring completion of projects in a timely, cost effective manner.
  • Involvement in Centre strategic planning activities.

Research Fellow (100% research)

Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), Human Factors Team, Monash University

Feb 2011 – Feb 2013 Melbourne, Australia

Supervisor: Dr Missy Rudin-Brown

Responsibilities include:

  • Developing and conducting driving simulator studies.
  • Working on both large grant projects and industry funded research.




PracticAl and Effective tools to moNitor and Assess CommErciAl drivers’ fitness to drive 2021-2024

Reducing the risk of sleep‐related crashes in young drivers

First steps towards an intervention to improve the sleep health of newly licenced drivers 2020-2021


International Research Centre to Investigate the Effects of Vehicle Automation on Vulnerable Road Users 2019-2024


Smart Driver and Road Environment Assessment and Monitoring System 2019-2021

Caffeine and truck drivers

Is consuming high amounts of caffeine benaficial for truck drivers?

Fatigue and Sleepiness in Tunnelling Operations

A qualitative investigation to understand fatigue and sleepiness in tunnel construction workers 2018-2019

Bus Driver Fatigue

Understanding sleepiness and fatigue in London city bus drivers 2018-2020


Safety CaUsation, Benefits and Efficiency 2015-2018

Sleep-related crashes

Understanding contributing factors to sleep crashes 2013-2016

Sleep loss and visual attention

Is ‘change blindness’ affected by sleepiness?

Train driver fatigue and sleepiness

Causes, consequences and countermeasures to train driver sleepiness 2015-2016

Level crossing safety

How do drivers respond to passive level crossings?

Sleepy eyes

Sleep Related eye symptoms 2014

Sleep and daytime sleepiness in new mothers

How does sleep and sleepiness change in the first 18 weeks after having a baby? 2013-2014

Young driver sleepiness

Are younger drivers more vulnerable to the effects of sleep loss than older drivers? 2009-2010

OSA & Driving

Driving simulator investigations with obstructive sleep apnoea patients. 2007-2010


Feeling tired due to lack of sleep or time of day


Feeling tired due to duration of task, being mentally overloaded or underloaded

Transport Safety

Human factors of transport safety

Occupational Safety

Human factors of safety at work

Rail Safety

Human factors of rail safety

Hot Air Ballooning Safety

Human factors of ballooning safety

Research Methods

Quantitative and Qualitative approaches

Teaching & Speaking

I hold Fellowship of Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and am experienced at teaching and speaking to academic, industry and lay audiences. Within academia I teach at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. I teach topics relating to sleep and fatigue, transport safety, human factors, research methods and academic skills.

My teaching is based at Loughborough University School of Design and Creative Arts into the programmes:MSc Ergonomics and Human Factors, BA Industrial Design and BSc Product Design and Technology. I am also available for guest lectures on other programmes and institutes.

Recent Publications

Keeping the service running: Examining working relationships and workload of London bus network iBus controllers

Bus controllers are an essential part of the London bus network. Although the bus driver is the individual directly in control of the vehicle, inputs from both the controller and driver influence operations. Currently, little research has focused on the dynamic between these parties, and how it works in the day-to-day operation of a bus. In the current study, data was collected across focus groups with controllers to understand the controller-driver relationship from the controller perspective. The objectives of the research were to: investigate interactions and working relationships between bus controllers and drivers in London and to explore the effect of controller/driver relationships on workload, stress and fatigue. It is clear that the working relationship between controllers and drivers is a challenging one, with both parties often misunderstanding the role of the other. This is made worse by the nature of communication via radio including poor quality audio leading to difficult interactions. All of the participating controllers expressed being overloaded with work, leading to feelings of stress and fatigue, with shift work and irregular hours being discussed as a cause of controller fatigue. Any steps taken to improve the difficult working relationship between drivers and controllers can be seen as beneficial because they could improve efficiency, worker wellbeing, and possibly safety.

Injury crashes and relationship with disease causing excessive day time sleepiness


The objective of this study was to understand the relationship between some of the most common diseases that are known to contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and traffic injury crashes. Specific focus was on the relationship between disease and crash type (single-vehicle or multiple-vehicle crash) and between disease and injury severity.


This registry-based study considered all passenger car drivers involved in a crash in Sweden between 2011 and 2016 who were 40 years or older at the time of the crash (n = 54,090). For each crash-involved driver, selected medical diagnoses registered from 1997 until the day before the crash were extracted from the National Patient Register. The drivers were assigned to 1 of 4 groups, depending on prior diseases: sleep apnea (SA; group 1, n = 2,165), sleep disorders (group 2, n = 724), Parkinson’s or epilepsy (group 3, n = 645) and a reference group (group 4, n = 50,556). Logistic regression analysis compared single-vehicle crashes with multiple-vehicle crashes and moderately/severely injured drivers with slightly/uninjured drivers.


Drivers with EDS-related diseases (groups 1–3) had higher probability of a single-vehicle crash than a multiple-vehicle crash compared to the reference group. The most sizeable effect was found for Parkinson’s/epilepsy with an odds ratio (OR) of 2.5 (confidence interval [CI], 2.1–3.0). For multiple-vehicle crashes, the probability of a moderate/severe injury was higher for drivers with other sleep disorders (OR = 1.5; CI, 1.0–2.2) and Parkinson’s/epilepsy (OR = 1.6; CI, 1.1–2.3) compared to the reference group.


This study has made first steps toward understanding the relationship between some of the most common diseases that are known to contribute to EDS and crashes. Having Parkinson’s/epilepsy, in particular, elevated the probability of a single-vehicle crash compared to a multiple-vehicle crash. A single-vehicle crash was seen as indicative of causing a crash; thus, having Parkinson’s/epilepsy could be interpreted as a risk factor for crash involvement. Having Parkinson’s/epilepsy, as well as other sleep disorders, was also related to more severe outcomes in multiple-vehicle crashes, given that a crash occurred. This was not identified in single-vehicle crashes.

Post-trip Safety Interventions: State of the art challenges and practical implications

Introduction: Currently, risky driving behaviour is a major contributor to road crashes and as a result, wide array of tools have been developed in order to record and improve driving behaviour. Within that group of tools, interventions have been indicated to significantly enhance driving behaviour and road safety. This study critically reviews monitoring technologies that provide post-trip interventions, such as retrospective visual feedback, gamification, rewards or penalties, in order to inform an appropriate driver mentoring strategy delivered after each trip. Method: The work presented here is part of the European Commission H2020 i-DREAMS project. The reviewed platform characteristics were obtained through commercially available solutions as well as a comprehensive literature search in popular scientific databases, such as Scopus and Google Scholar. Focus was given on state-of-the-art-technologies for post-trip interventions utilized in four different transport modes (i.e. car, truck, bus and rail) associated with risk prevention and mitigation. Results: The synthesized results revealed that smartphone applications and web-based platforms are the most accepted, frequently and easiest to use tools in cars, buses and trucks across all papers considered, while limited evidence of post-trip interventions in -rail was found. The majority of smartphone applications detected mobile phone use and harsh events and provided individual performance scores, while in-vehicle systems provided delayed visual reports through a web-based platform. Conclusions: Gamification and appropriate rewards appeared to be effective solutions, as it was found that they keep drivers motivated in improving their driving skills, but it was clear that these cannot be performed in isolation and a combination with other strategies (i.e. driver coaching and support) might be beneficial. Nevertheless, as there is no holistic and cross-modal post-trip intervention solution developed in real-world environments, challenges associated with post-trip feedback provision and suggestions on practical implementation are also provided.

utonomous Vehicles and Vulnerable Road-Users—Important Considerations and Requirements Based on Crash Data from Two Countries

(1) Background: Passenger vehicles equipped with advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) functionalities are becoming more prevalent within vehicle fleets. However, the full effects of offering such systems, which may allow for drivers to become less than 100% engaged with the task of driving, may have detrimental impacts on other road-users, particularly vulnerable road-users, for a variety of reasons. (2) Crash data were analysed in two countries (Great Britain and Australia) to examine some challenging traffic scenarios that are prevalent in both countries and represent scenarios in which future connected and autonomous vehicles may be challenged in terms of safe manoeuvring. (3) Road intersections are currently very common locations for vulnerable road-user accidents; traffic flows and road-user behaviours at intersections can be unpredictable, with many vehicles behaving inconsistently (e.g., red-light running and failure to stop or give way), and many vulnerable road-users taking unforeseen risks. (4) Conclusions: The challenges of unpredictable vulnerable road-user behaviour at intersections (including road-users violating traffic or safe-crossing signals, or taking other risks) combined with the lack of knowledge of CAV responses to intersection rules, could be problematic. This could be further compounded by changes to nonverbal communication that currently exist between road-users, which could become more challenging once CAVs become more widespread.

Modelling driver decision-making at railway level crossings using the abstraction decomposition space

The objective of this paper is to cast users of railway level crossings as flexible and adaptive decision-makers, and to apply a cognitive systems engineering approach to discover new behaviour-based insights for improving safety. Collisions between trains and road vehicles at railway level crossings/grade crossings remain a global issue. It is still far from apparent why drivers undertake some of the behaviours that lead to collisions, and there remains considerable justification for continuing to explore this issue with novel methods and approaches. In this study, 220 level crossing encounters by 22 car drivers were subject to analysis. Concurrent verbal protocols provided by drivers as they drove an instrumented vehicle around a pre-defined route were subject to content analysis and mapped onto Rasmussen’s Abstraction Decomposition Space. Three key results emerged. First, when they realise they are in a crossing environment, drivers’ natural tendencies are to look for trains (even if not required), slow down (again, even if not required), and for their behaviour to be shaped by a wide variety of constraints and affordances (some, but not all, put there for that purpose by railway authorities). The second result is that expert decision-making in these situations does not describe a trajectory from high-level system purposes to low-level physical objects. Instead, drivers remain at intermediate and lower levels of system abstraction, with many loops and iterations. The final finding is that current level crossing systems are inadvertently constraining some desirable behaviours, affording undesirable ones, and that unexpected system elements are driving behaviour in ways not previously considered. Railway level crossings need to be designed to reveal their functional purpose much more effectively than at present.

Work with me/Contact

I am available for consultancy research, I regularly work with companies, organisations and government departments to investigate how human factors influence safety, in order to identify weaknesses and suggest potential solutions. In particular I specialise in reducing the impact of sleepiness and fatigue on safety.

I am also available to speak on topics related to sleep, fatigue, promoting higher education particularly for ‘first in family’, dyslexic students, and, girls into science and academic careers.

I am very open to academic research collaboration and welcome contact from interested potential Ph.D students and research interns.

You can contact me by email or twitter. I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!

  • Loughborough University, SDCA, Epinal Way, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU
  • Tuesday - Friday 09:00 to 17:00