Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Design Issues in the Development of a Distributed Adaptive Planning System for Airport Surface Management
by Fernandes, Alicia Borgman, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2012, 327; 10630955
Abstract (Summary)

Departure demand routinely exceeds capacity at several airports in the United States. Under traditional “first-come, first-served” approaches to airport surface management, demand exceeding capacity can cause longer departure queues than necessary to maintain efficient traffic flow. Long queues can lead to longer taxi out times and greater fuel burn than necessary, and can increase uncertainty and limit flexibility for flight operators while increasing workload for air traffic control personnel.

Departure metering is one alternative approach that controls access to the active movement area relative to expected departure capacity and the desired number of aircraft in the departure queue (or similar measures). While the main goal is to control the number of aircraft in the departure queue, metering also can increase flexibility, reduce emissions, and improve information about the time a flight is likely to take off.

Managing a departure metering procedure is a new role that is an example of a distributed adaptive planning task. This research examined human-centered design concepts for supporting people responsible for such tasks. In particular, the project developed information requirements and prototype displays to support a human agent(s) responsible for managing a departure metering procedure.

These information requirements are intended to support proactive efforts to adapt a surface management plan under evolving conditions, appropriately modifying the plan, and scheduling implementation of the new plan. Departure metering procedure management requires re-planning in response to events that impact the departure process (such as an unexpected temporary runway closure). It also may require adapting the plan before any change in the departure process takes place and when information indicating the trajectory of the departure process is uncertain (such as a forecast change in weather conditions). Rather than always implementing the new plan immediately, a person may schedule the new plan to take effect at a later time.

The research included two related studies. The first had two main objectives. One was to develop a realistic set of airspace constraints and surface management strategies that could be used in follow-on simulation studies. The second was to determine more generally what surface management strategies should be supported in a departure metering procedure and to evaluate their implications for the design of software to support surface management. Key components of surface management strategies were identified, including evidence that air traffic control tower personnel automatically transform mental representations of departure constraints between airspace-centric and surface-centric domain representations in order to develop and implement airport surface management plans.

The objective of the second study was to explore information requirements for supporting a human agent(s) responsible for managing a departure metering procedure and to evaluate display concepts. Participants performed the departure metering procedure management task in a simulated environment and provided feedback on the departure metering procedure concept and on the usefulness of the displays. Participants provided feedback that can inform industry efforts to refine departure metering procedure design concepts as well as designs for displays and other tools to support these distributed adaptive planning systems.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smith, Philip
Commitee: Patterson, Emily, Woods, David
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Industrial and Systems Engineering
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Engineering, Industrial engineering, Transportation planning, Systems science
Keywords: Adaptation, Air traffic management, Airport surface management, Distributed adaptive planning, Monitoring, Planning
Publication Number: 10630955
ISBN: 978-0-355-01277-4
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