TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD

SPECIAL REPORT 301

Air Traffic Controller Staffing in the En Route Domain

A Review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Task Load Model

Committee for a Review of the En Route Air Traffic Control Complexity and Workload Model

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Transportation Research Board

Washington, D.C.

2010
www.TRB.org



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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD SPECIAL REPORT 301 Air Traffic Controller Staffing in the En Route Domain A Review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Task Load Model Committee for a Review of the En Route Air Traffic Control Complexity and Workload Model Transportation Research Board Washington, D.C. 2010 www.TRB.org

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Transportation Research Board Special Report 301 Subscriber Category Aviation Transportation Research Board publications are available by ordering individual publica- tions directly from the TRB Business Office, through the Internet at www.TRB.org or nationalacademies.org/trb, or by annual subscription through organizational or indi- vidual affiliation with TRB. Affiliates and library subscribers are eligible for substan- tial discounts. For further information, contact the Transportation Research Board Business Office, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (telephone 202-334-3213; fax 202-334-2519; or e-mail TRBsales@nas.edu). Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to the pro- cedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This report was sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Typesetting by Circle Graphics. Cover photo courtesy of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data National Research Council (U.S.). Committee for a Review of the En Route Air Traffic Control Complexity and Workload Model. Air traffic controller staffing in the en route domain : a review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s task load model / Committee for a Review of the En Route Air Traffic Control Complexity and Workload Model, Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council of the National Academies. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. 1. Air traffic capacity—United States—Mathematical models. 2. United States. Federal Aviation Administration.—Officials and employees—Workload— Mathematical models. 3. Manpower planning—United States—Statistical methods. I. Title. TL725.3.T7N3685 2010 387.7'404260683—dc22 2010042255 ISBN 978-0-309-16069-8

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meet- ing national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Insti- tute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both the Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Re- search Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leader- ship in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Board’s varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the compo- nent administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org

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Committee for a Review of the En Route Air Traffic Control Complexity and Workload Model R. John Hansman, Jr., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Chair Monica S. Alcabin, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Seattle, Washington Michael O. Ball, University of Maryland, College Park Mary L. Cummings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge William J. Dunlay, Jacobs Consultancy, Burlingame, California Antonio L. Elias, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Virginia John J. Fearnsides, MJF Strategies, McLean, Virginia J. Victor Lebacqz, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (retired), Aptos, California Michael J. Powderly, Airspace Solutions, Marietta, Georgia Philip J. Smith, Ohio State University, Columbus Antonio A. Trani, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg Roger Wall, Federal Express Corporation (retired), Kent, Washington Greg L. Zacharias, Charles River Analytics, Cambridge, Massachusetts National Research Council Staff Thomas R. Menzies, Jr., Study Director, Transportation Research Board Susan Van Hemel, Senior Program Officer (retired), Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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Preface For the past decade, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has spon- sored the development of modeling capabilities for the analysis of en route sector complexity, controller workload, and sector capacity. These capa- bilities have been developed by the agency’s federally funded research and development center, MITRE Corporation’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD). Upon FAA’s request, the Transportation Research Board (TRB), in conjunction with the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE), agreed to provide an expert review of the model for use in informing the agency’s workforce planning. The details of the request are provided in the study statement of task contained in Box 1-2 (page 14). To conduct the independent review, TRB and DBASSE assembled a committee of experts in human factors, modeling, and air traffic control research, planning, operations, and management. R. John Hansman, Jr., Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, chaired the committee, whose 13 members served in the pub- lic interest without compensation. Over the course of seven months, the committee met three times. During its first meeting in December 2009, the committee received overview briefings from FAA and CAASD about the model and its current and potential uses. During the second meeting, in March 2010, the committee visited the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) in Leesburg, Virginia, and received more detailed briefings from FAA and CAASD on the model and its use to inform work- force planning. The committee’s final meeting, in June 2010, consisted mainly of committee deliberations to produce this report. The committee thanks all of the individuals from FAA and MITRE who made presentations during the meetings and otherwise assisted the vii

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viii Air Traffic Controller Staffing in the En Route Domain committee during the course of the study, especially Dan Williams, FAA and Diane E. Boone, MITRE Corporation. The committee also wishes to thank Larry Bogner and Bill Holtzman from the Washington ARTCC for assisting in making the arrangements for and hosting the commit- tee’s February visit. Thomas R. Menzies, Jr., managed the study and assisted the committee in drafting the final report under the supervision of Stephen R. Godwin, Director of Studies and Special Programs, TRB and Barbara Wanchisen, Interim Director, Committee on Human–Systems Integration, DBASSE. Suzanne Schneider, Associate Executive Director of TRB, managed the report review process. The report was edited by Naomi Kassabian; Jennifer J. Weeks prepared the manuscript for web posting; and Juanita L. Green managed the design and production, under the supervision of Javy Awan, Director of Publications, TRB. Special appreciation is expressed to Amelia Mathis for assistance with meeting arrangements and communications with the committee. The report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide can- did and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. Thanks go to the following individuals for their review of the report: John B. Hayhurst, Boeing Company, Kirkland, Washington; Brian Hilburn, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Atlantic City, New Jersey; William C. Howell, Arizona State University, Mesa, and Rice University, Houston, Texas; Bill F. Jeffers, Newnan, Georgia; Waldemar Karwowski, University of Central Florida, Orlando; Amy R. Pritchett, Georgia Insti- tute of Technology, Atlanta; Christopher D. Wickens, University of Illinois (Emeritus), Urbana–Champaign, and Alion Science and Technology, Boulder, Colorado. Although these seven reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the committee’s findings

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Preface ix or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review was overseen by Adib K. Kanafani, University of California, Berkeley, and C. Michael Walton, University of Texas, Austin. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was car- ried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and institution.

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Contents Summary 1 1 Study Charge and Background 9 Report Organization 13 Background on En Route Air Traffic Control 14 2 Model Overview 18 Modeling R-Side Tasks Only 18 Overview of Model Structure 19 Converting R-Side Task Load into PTT 22 Key Points from Overview 24 3 Task Load Model 26 Tasks in Model 26 Traffic Simulations and Task Triggers 29 Task Times and Schedules 32 Task Load Computation 40 Committee Assessment 41 4 Converting Task Load into Positions to Traffic 46 Conversion Methods 46 CAASD Evaluations of PTT Conversions 52 Committee Assessment 56

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5 Findings and Recommendations 58 Findings 59 Recommendations 63 Study Committee Biographical Information 65