Transportation Research Board
Special Report 314

Federal Aviation Administration’s
Approach for Determining
Future Air Traffic Controller
Staffing Needs


Committee for Study of Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Controller Staffing

Transportation Research Board

Board on Human–Systems Integration
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                         OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Transportation Research Board
Washington, D.C. 20001
www.TRB.org
2014



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transportation research board special report 314 The Federal Aviation Administration’s Approach for Determining Future Air Traffic Controller Staffing Needs Committee for a Study of Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Controller Staffing, Transportation Research Board Board on Human–Systems Integration, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Transportation Research Board Washington, D.C. 2014 www.TRB.org

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Transportation Research Board Special Report 314 Subscriber Categories Aviation; safety and human factors; planning and forecasting; finance Transportation Research Board publications are available by ordering individual publications directly from the TRB Business Office, through the Internet at www.TRB.org or national- academies.org/trb, or by annual subscription through organizational or individual affilia- tion with TRB. Affiliates and library subscribers are eligible for substantial 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 2014 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 study was sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The Federal Aviation Administration’s approach for determining future air traffic controller staffing needs / Committee for a Study of Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Control- ler Staffing, Transportation Research Board, Board on Human-Systems Integration, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council of the National Academies. pages cm. — (Transportation Research Board special report ; 314) Summary: “TRB Special Report 314, The Federal Aviation Administration’s Approach for Determining Future Air Traffic Controller Staffing Needs, examines the methods used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to estimate how many controllers are needed to staff its air traffic control facilities and FAA’s processes for using these estimates to properly distribute controllers across facilities. According to the report, FAA’s models for determining air traffic controller staffing needs are suitable for developing initial estimates of the number of controllers required at terminal areas and airport towers, but the models used for the cen- ters controlling aircraft en route between airports can be improved. In addition, as a matter of priority, the FAA should collaborate with the National Air Traffic Controllers Associa- tion to develop and implement an enhanced tool for all facilities that is capable of creating efficient controller work schedules that incorporate fatigue mitigation strategies. The report recommends that the FAA analyze a wide range of data, such as accident and incident reports and voluntary reports by controllers, to identify relationships between staffing and safety. In addition, the controller workforce should be involved in staffing decisions, particularly as knowledge emerges about relevant safety issues. The report also says that FAA should ensure that staffing continue to be appropriate as FAA implements the new air traffic operations environment associated with the Next Generation Transportation System, a moderniza- tion initiative to shift air traffic management from ground-based radar to a satellite system” —Provided by publisher. ISBN 978-0-309-29513-0 1. Air traffic controllers—United States. 2. United States. Federal Aviation Administration— Personnel management. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee for a Study of Fed- eral Aviation Administration Air Traffic Controller Staffing, author. II. National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board, issuing body. III. Series: Special report (National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board) ; 314. HD8039.A4252F43 2014 629.136'6092—dc23 2014026168 ISBN 978-0-309-29513-0

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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 man- date 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 meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., is president of the National Acad- emy 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 examina- tion 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. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute 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 Acad- emy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Func- tioning 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. C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide lead- ership 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 aca- demia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is sup- ported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component 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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Transportation Research Board Executive Committee* Chair: Kirk T. Steudle, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation, Lansing Vice Chair: Daniel Sperling, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy; Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis Executive Director: Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board Victoria A. Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center, and Visiting Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C. Scott E. Bennett, Director, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Little Rock Deborah H. Butler, Executive Vice President, Planning, and CIO, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Norfolk, Virginia (Past Chair, 2013) James M. Crites, Executive Vice President of Operations, Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport, Texas Malcolm Dougherty, Director, California Department of Transportation, Sacramento A. Stewart Fotheringham, Professor and Director, Centre for Geoinformatics, School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St. Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom John S. Halikowski, Director, Arizona Department of Transportation, Phoenix Michael W. Hancock, Secretary, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Frankfort Susan Hanson, Distinguished University Professor Emerita, School of Geography, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts Steve Heminger, Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, California Chris T. Hendrickson, Duquesne Light Professor of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Jeffrey D. Holt, Managing Director, Bank of Montreal Capital Markets, and Chairman, Utah Transportation Commission, Huntsville, Utah Gary P. LaGrange, President and CEO, Port of New Orleans, Louisiana Michael P. Lewis, Director, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Providence Joan McDonald, Commissioner, New York State Department of Transportation, Albany Abbas Mohaddes, President and CEO, Iteris, Inc., Santa Ana, California Donald A. Osterberg, Senior Vice President, Safety and Security, Schneider National, Inc., Green Bay, Wisconsin Steven W. Palmer, Vice President of Transportation, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Mooresville, North Carolina Sandra Rosenbloom, Professor, University of Texas, Austin (Past Chair, 2012) Henry G. (Gerry) Schwartz, Jr., Chairman (retired), Jacobs/Sverdrup Civil, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri Kumares C. Sinha, Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana * Membership as of August 2014.

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Gary C. Thomas, President and Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas, Texas Paul Trombino III, Director, Iowa Department of Transportation, Ames Phillip A. Washington, General Manager, Regional Transportation District, Denver, Colorado Thomas P. Bostick (Lt. General, U.S. Army), Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) Alison Jane Conway, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, City College of New York, New York, and Chair, TRB Young Members Council (ex officio) Anne S. Ferro, Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) David J. Friedman, Acting Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) LeRoy Gishi, Chief, Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) John T. Gray II, Senior Vice President, Policy and Economics, Association of American Railroads, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) Michael P. Huerta, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Paul N. Jaenichen, Sr., Acting Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Therese W. McMillan, Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Michael P. Melaniphy, President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) Gregory G. Nadeau, Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Peter M. Rogoff, Under Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Craig A. Rutland, U.S. Air Force Pavement Engineer, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida (ex officio) Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Barry R. Wallerstein, Executive Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Diamond Bar, California (ex officio) Gregory D. Winfree, Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Frederick G. (Bud) Wright, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) Paul F. Zukunft (Adm., U.S. Coast Guard), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (ex officio)

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Board on Human–Systems Integration Nancy J. Cooke, College of Technology and Innovation and Depart- ment of Biomedical Informatics, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Chair Ellen J. Bass, College of Computing and Informatics and College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Pascale Carayon, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, University of Wisconsin–Madison Sara J. Czaja, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Industrial Engineering, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida Francis (Frank) T. Durso, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Andrew S. Imada, A.S. Imada and Associates, Carmichael, California Karl S. Pister (NAE), University of California, Berkeley (emeritus) David Rempel, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco Matthew Rizzo, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha Barbara Silverstein, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia David H. Wegman, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell (emeritus) Staff Barbara A. Wanchisen, Board Director Mickelle Rodriguez, Program Coordinator

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Committee for a Study of Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Controller Staffing Amy R. Pritchett, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Chair Mathias Basner, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Peter J. Basso, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (retired), Rockville, Maryland Lawrence M. Cole, Aloft Aviation Consulting, Fredericksburg, Virginia Mary L. Cummings, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina Francis T. Durso, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta John J. Fearnsides, MJF Strategies, LLC, Washington, D.C. Andrew LeBovidge, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Spring, Texas Amedeo R. Odoni, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Norman T. O’Meara, Logistics Management Institute, McLean, Virginia Clinton V. Oster, Jr., Indiana University (emeritus), Troy, Montana Roger Wall, FedEx Corporation (retired), Kent, Washington Transportation Research Board Staff Stephen R. Godwin, Director, Studies and Special Programs Jill Wilson, Study Director Mark S. Hutchins, Program Officer Amelia Mathis, Administrative Assistant

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Preface Section 608 of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Moderniza- tion and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95) required the National Acad- emy of Sciences to study “the air traffic controller standards used by the [FAA] to estimate staffing needs for FAA air traffic controllers to ensure the safe operation of the national airspace system [NAS] in the most cost effective manner.” The project “shall consult with the exclusive bargain- ing representative of employees of the FAA certified under section 7111 of title 5, United States Code, and other interested parties, including Government and industry representatives.” The complete study charge is provided in more detail in Chapter 1. In addition to the present study, the act tasked the National Research Council (NRC) with conducting two further studies related to the NAS: 1. An examination of the assumptions and methods that FAA uses in estimating the number of airway transportation system specialists needed to maintain and certify the equipment in the NAS, and 2. An examination of the Next Generation Air Transportation System’s enterprise software development approach and safety and human factor design. A report on the first item (NRC 2013) and a preliminary report on the second item (NRC 2014) have been issued. The request for the present study originates in the National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s (NATCA’s) interest in having a robust, science- based method for determining the appropriate staffing at individual air traffic control (ATC) facilities. FAA’s estimates show many facilities staffed at levels at or above the high end of their estimated staffing range, ix

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x FAA’s Approach for Determining Future Air Traffic Controller Staffing Needs even though some such facilities require mandatory overtime to manage traffic adequately. NATCA had urged Congress to adopt a requirement for a third-party assessment of appropriate staffing at individual facili- ties. However, after consultation with congressional staff, the request that emerged from the House–Senate conference focused on the appro- priateness of FAA’s overall staffing forecast and the most cost-effective approach to staffing that does not compromise safety. This study examines the methods used by FAA to estimate how many controllers are needed to staff its ATC facilities and the processes used to staff facilities consistent with these estimates. The committee’s investi- gation of FAA’s staffing process was complicated by the lack of adequate documentation of much of this process. The committee was heavily dependent on FAA to provide details of its staffing process through in-person briefings, teleconferences, and e-mail correspondence. In a number of instances, FAA staff members were asked to check the accu- racy of the committee’s factual summaries of what it learned. Thus, the report includes a large number of personal communications (telecon- ferences with FAA staff, small group meetings at FAA, and questions answered through e-mail) rather than references to published papers, conference proceedings, and the like. As used throughout the report, the term “staffing standards” is defined narrowly by FAA to mean mathematical models used to relate controller workload and air traffic activity. Hence, these staffing standards, some- times referred to as staffing models, constitute only one part of the larger process whereby FAA determines air traffic controller staffing levels. Consistent with clarification and guidance from congressional staff, the committee took a broader approach and considered the processes that FAA uses to model the number of controllers it needs and to adjust the modeled output on the basis of the judgment of facility managers and others, as well as the numbers of controllers actually added to the work- force and transferred among facilities. Appointed by NRC, the study committee consists of 12 academicians, consultants, and current and retired air traffic controllers. Members have expertise in ATC and management, human factors, aviation safety, fatigue and sleep research, workforce planning, staffing models, aviation demand and management, public policy, economics, and budgeting. Biographical information concerning the committee members appears at the end of the report.

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Preface xi The full committee met five times between January 2013 and January 2014; at these meetings, it received briefings from FAA and other organi- zations, including Airlines for America (A4A), Airservices Australia, and the United Kingdom’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS). Over the same period, small groups of committee members also met (in person or by teleconference) with FAA staff on more than 20 occasions to discuss details of the agency’s controller staffing process. Despite these efforts to gather information from FAA, the committee had difficulty in obtaining clear and consistent descriptions of the staffing process and in establish- ing that the process steps are applied consistently. As part of the committee’s information-gathering activities, members visited several of FAA’s ATC facilities (the Atlanta, Potomac, and Seattle Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities and the Atlanta Center), as well as the Delta Air Lines Operations Center in Atlanta. A committee subgroup met with representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board to discuss controller fatigue issues. To help inform comparisons between controller staffing processes used by FAA and by organizations in other countries, the committee obtained white papers from air navi- gation service providers (ANSPs) in Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom describing their approaches to controller workforce planning. As part of this benchmarking effort, a subgroup of the com- mittee held a conference call with Ralph Riedle, former Managing Direc- tor of Operations at Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) in Germany. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The committee thanks the many organizations and individuals that con- tributed to the study through formal presentations, correspondence, tele- phone calls, and informal discussions. The participation of the following individuals in the committee’s information-gathering activities is grate- fully acknowledged: Rich McCormick, Tim Arel, Heather Biblow, Steve Bradford, Glen Buchanan, Gene Burdick, David Burkholder, Carl Burrus, Arthur Furnia, Todd Hoot, Rick Huss, Gretchen Koch-Noble, Stephen Lloyd, Darendia McCauley, Mike McCormick, Elliott McLaughlin, Finlay Mungall, Lynn Ray, Roger Schaufele, Nan Shellabarger, Joseph Teixeira, Dan Williams, and Mike Williams, FAA; Eugene Freedman, Dean Iacopelli, and Jeff Richards, NATCA; Greg Tennille, MITRE Corporation; Frank Danielski and Matthew Hampton, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of

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xii FAA’s Approach for Determining Future Air Traffic Controller Staffing Needs Inspector General; Dan Allen, FedEx (member, A4A ATC Council); Kevin Brathwaite and Richard McCormack, Grant Thornton; Jessica Clevenger, Georgia Institute of Technology; Kate Bleckley, Dana Broach, Cristina Byrne, Jerry Crutchfield, Linda Pierce, and Kevin Williams, Civil Aero- space Medical Institute; Kelly Krokos, American Institutes for Research; Ralph Riedle, DFS (retired); and Dan Bartlett, National Transportation Safety Board. The committee thanks all those who organized and hosted its visits to FAA’s ATC facilities and to the Delta Air Lines Operations Center. Thanks go also to the authors of the ANSP white papers—Jason Harfield and Rodd Sciortino of Airservices Australia, Sid Koslow of Nav Canada, Nanda Hoefel of DFS, and Jonathan Astill and colleagues of NATS. The committee is particularly grateful to Jason Harfield, Rodd Sciortino, and Jonathan Astill, who gave generously of their time in traveling to and participating in the third committee meeting in July 2013 and respond- ing to follow-up questions. This study was performed under the overall supervision of Stephen R. Godwin, Director, Studies and Special Programs, Transportation Research Board. The committee gratefully acknowledges the work and support of Jill Wilson, study director, and Mark S. Hutchins in facili- tating information-gathering activities and assisting the committee in the preparation of its report. The committee also acknowledges Karen Febey, who managed the review process; Norman Solomon, who edited the report; Janet M. McNaughton, who handled the editorial produc- tion; Juanita Green, who managed the production; Jennifer J. Weeks, who prepared the manuscript for prepublication web posting; and Javy Awan, Director of Publications, under whose supervision the report was prepared for publication. Thanks go to Amelia Mathis for arranging meetings and providing administrative support to the committee. This report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid 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

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Preface xiii review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The committee thanks the fol- lowing individuals for their review of this report: Colin Drury, State Uni- versity of New York (emeritus), Buffalo; Antonio Elias, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Virginia; John Fischer, Congressional Research Service (retired), and consultant, Annapolis, Maryland; Mark Hansen, Uni- versity of California, Berkeley; Mark Harrison, University of California, Los Angeles; Paul Hogan, Lewin Group, Fairfax, Virginia; Melissa Mallis, M3Alertness Management, LLC, Courtdale, Pennsylvania; Michael Pow- derly, Airspace Solutions, Marietta, Georgia; and John Strong, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the committee’s findings or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review was overseen by National Academy of Sciences members Charles Manski, Northwestern University, and Susan Hanson, Clark University (emerita). Appointed by NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an inde- pendent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully con- sidered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. —Amy R. Pritchett, Chair Committee for a Study of Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Controller Staffing REFERENCES Abbreviation NRC National Research Council NRC. 2013. Assessment of Staffing Needs of Systems Specialists in Aviation. National Acad- emies Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 2014. Interim Report of a Review of the Next Generation Air Transportation Sys- tem Enterprise Architecture, Software, Safety, and Human Factors. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

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Acronyms and Abbreviations Acronyms and abbreviations used in the report are listed below. A4A Airlines for America AATF Airport and Airway Trust Fund AIP Airport Improvement Program AIR21 Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century ALA Office of Labor Analysis ANSP air navigation service provider ARTCC air route traffic control center ASA Airservices Australia ASIAS Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing System ASRS Aviation Safety Reporting System ATADS Air Traffic Activity Data System ATC air traffic control ATCT airport traffic control tower ATO Air Traffic Organization ATSAP Air Traffic Safety Action Program BTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics CAMI Civil Aerospace Medical Institute CANSO Civil Air Navigation Services Organization CBO Congressional Budget Office CEW controller equivalent workforce CFR Code of Federal Regulations CPC certified professional controller CPC-IT certified professional controller in training CWP controller workforce plan xv

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xvi FAA’s Approach for Determining Future Air Traffic Controller Staffing Needs DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung DSFM daily staffing forecast model DSR daily staffing requirements ERAM En Route Automation Modernization ERR employee request for reassignment EVT En Route Validation Tool FAA Federal Aviation Administration FAR Federal Aviation Regulations FCT Federal Contract Tower FFT field focus team FRMS Fatigue Risk Management System FTE full-time equivalent FY fiscal year GA general aviation GAO Government Accountability Office GOMS goals, operators, methods, and selection rules HSI human–systems integration ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization IFR instrument flight rules NAS National Airspace System NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NATCA National Air Traffic Controllers Association NATS National Air Traffic Services NextGen Next Generation Air Transportation System NRC National Research Council NTSB National Transportation Safety Board OIG Office of the Inspector General OJT on-the-job training OMB Office of Management and Budget OPAS Operational Planning and Scheduling OPC on-position controllers OPD optimized profile descent PATCO Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization PQC position-qualified controller PTT positions to traffic REDAC Research, Engineering, and Development Advisory Committee

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Acronyms and Abbreviations xvii SCM shift coverage model SMS safety management system SUI service unit input TAF Terminal Area Forecasts TAF-M Terminal Area Forecast Modernization TARP Traffic Analysis and Review Program TRACON terminal radar approach control TRB Transportation Research Board TVT Terminal Validation Tool UAS unmanned aircraft systems USDOD United States Department of Defense USDOT United States Department of Transportation VFR visual flight rules

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Contents Summary 1 Safety in Staffing 2 Determination of Workforce Size 3 Cost-Effective and Safe Scheduling 6 Budgets and Cost-Effectiveness 8 1 Introduction 11 Air Traffic Controller Functions and Facilities 12 Staffing Challenge 20 FAA’s Staffing Process 22 Charge to the Committee 23 Organization of Report 26 2 Aviation Safety and Controller Staffing 29 Indicators of the Relationships Between Controller Staffing and Aviation Safety 29 Safety of FAA’s Contract Tower Program 33 Fatigue and ATC 36 Moving Forward: Monitoring for Staffing’s Impact on Safety and on Safety Culture 42 Summary 47 Findings and Recommendations 49

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3 Evaluation of Staffing Standards 54 Model-Based Generation of Staffing Standards 54 Staffing Range Inputs and Calculation 71 Schedule Creation 72 Communication and Engagement 73 Summary 74 Findings and Recommendations 75 4 Development and Implementation of Staffing Plan 80 Facility Staffing Status 81 Staff Planning 88 Annual Staffing Plan 91 Staffing Plan Execution 92 Transfers 95 Strategies to Improve Facility Staffing 98 Summary and Recommendations 103 5 Staffing Implications of the Next Generation Air Transportation System 108 Potential Long-Term Impact of NextGen on Staffing 109 NextGen Considerations and the Controller Workforce Plan 111 Effective Controller Training and Selection for NextGen Operations 111 Staffing Pressures with NextGen Near- and Midterm Deployment 113 Controller Participation in the NextGen Development Process 113 Findings and Recommendations 115 6 Current and Estimated Budgets for Air Traffic Control Staffing 118 Current Budget 118 Revenues 123 Future Revenues 129

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Anticipated ATO Budgets 131 Policy Options 134 Summary 140 7 Findings and Recommendations 143 Safety and Controller Staffing 143 FAA’s Process for Estimating Controller Staffing Needs 147 Staff Planning and Execution of Staffing Plan 151 New Technology and Operations with NextGen 154 Overall Consistency, Transparency, and Communication with Regard to Controller Staffing 155 Controller Productivity and Traffic Activity 156 Affordable Controller Staffing 159 Recommendations 160 Appendix: Federal Aviation Administration’s Methodological Approach to the Preparation of Terminal Area Forecasts 164 Study Committee Biographical Information 168

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