National Academies Press: OpenBook

Research Roadmap on Safety Issues (2020)

Chapter: 2. Research Methodology

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Suggested Citation:"2. Research Methodology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Research Roadmap on Safety Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25957.
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Suggested Citation:"2. Research Methodology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Research Roadmap on Safety Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25957.
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Research Roadmap on Safety Issues 2 In developing the initial guidance for this safety roadmap, the ACRP identified such areas as emergency management training, airport SMS, airport terminal incident response planning, runway protection zone (RPZ) and runway safety areas (RSA) risk assessment tools as potential subjects for future airport safety research. In the course of this project, the research team considered these topics in addition the safety challenges experienced and observed by members of the research team, as well as the research topics from airports contributing to the project, to develop a revised categorization with the ultimate goal being to create and present an Airport Safety Research Roadmap to meet the industry needs and support research funding decisions in the years to come. 1.2 Principles to Develop this Roadmap The project focused on the following principles to identify research needs and opportunities for the airport industry: 1. Key focus on airport safety issues to be addressed in the short-term, within the next 5 years 2. Review of existing roadmaps and airport safety research completed or ongoing 3. Address current needs of airports of all sizes, geographies, levels and types of activity, and resource constraints 4. Reflect the priorities of a broad group of stakeholders 5. Prioritize research with consideration to the ACRP’s strategic plan 6. Create research ideas to be entered into ACRP’s IdeaHub for further development into problem statements 7. Inclusion of long-term (i.e., beyond 5 years) research needs assessment that accounts for uncertainty and emerging issues 2. Research Methodology A simplified process was conceived to support meeting the project goals. This process involved the responses to three basic questions that addressed the key project focus:  Which airport safety research has been developed and is available to the industry, or is ongoing?  Which airport safety research topics and guidance are needed to meet the needs of the industry?  What priorities should be set in the performance of the needed research? In order to answer these questions and achieve the project objectives, the project was broken down into two phases. In Phase I, a review of the existing or ongoing airport safety research was performed, followed by the development of an initial draft list of airport safety categories and topics deemed to be relevant for future research. In Phase II, the initial findings and research topics list was refined through industry outreach and development of a prioritization process, and an interactive Visual Research Roadmap was developed. Prior to the start of the research tasks, and in support of the guiding objectives and questions the project aimed to satisfy, a framework was developed to organize and bound the priorities of the safety topics

Research Roadmap on Safety Issues 3 identified for inclusion in the roadmap. This framework needed to address all aspects of airport operations and safety management. The framework developed was comprised of eight focus areas:  Airside Driving – Operation of vehicles and equipment outside of the terminal areas, to include movement area and non-movement area driving.  Airport Losses – Damage to airport facilities and equipment due to unintentional incidents and accidents, to include injury to airport and tenant employees.  Emergency Management (Training/Response) – Planning and execution of airport emergency response actions, to include aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF).  Movement Area Safety (Surface Activity) – Activities taking place in the movement area apart from flight operations; e.g. aircraft taxi, aircraft towing, maintenance and construction.  Non-Movement and Ramp Area Safety – Activities taking place in the non-movement areas to include the ramp areas; e.g. key airport tenant activities, leased space safety, aircraft fueling, baggage loading, aircraft maintenance, ground services, facilities maintenance and construction.  Runway Safety Areas and Runway Protection Zones (Aircraft/Flight Activity) – Activities taking place in the runway environment associated with flight operations; e.g. runway condition monitoring and reporting, weather observations and reporting, air traffic management, communications with aircraft, navigation aid maintenance, protection of aircraft operations (e.g. prevention of runway incursions and excursions).  Safety Management – Processes implemented and actions taken by the airport to ensure and improve airport safety performance, to include the development and operation of SMS.  Terminal Incidents – Activities and incidents in the airport terminal area, to include landside facilities and infrastructure that is integral to the operation of the airport; e.g. airport parking, passenger movement, traffic control and management. These eight focus areas provided a foundation for both the research study and the development of the visual tool to present the roadmap in an interactive way. 2.1 Phase I Approach The foundational work for the roadmap development was performed during Phase I. The following tasks were performed:  Documentation of Past and Ongoing Airport Safety Research: By determining the breadth and depth of past and ongoing research, a starting point for future research needs was created. An extensive review of existing literature and ongoing research was conducted during this initial task and it involved not the review of existing research work but the identification of the breadth to evaluate existing gaps in existing work.  Analysis of Results for Gaps: Identifying gaps in the existing research products provided a foundation for roadmap development. This was done by comparing the results of the research documentation tasks with the results of airport industry stakeholder outreach; then assessing critical safety risks associated in the airport industry to prioritize the documented research needs.  Identification of Future Research Needs and Priorities: Upon identifying the research gaps, and then checking the validity of the gaps with a cross section of airport operators and stakeholders, a

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With the airport industry's introduction and early adoption of safety management systems (SMS), safety processes are taking on a more proactive way of doing the business while continuously improving safety. This shift in approach will drive safety research in the near and long-term future.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program'sACRP Web-Only Document 50: Research Roadmap on Safety Issues reveals evidence of this shift, with input from the industry clearly indicating that more detailed guidance on, and the sharing of lessons learned regarding the elements and processes falling under the SMS umbrella, is needed.

Two supplemental files accompany this web-only document, including a Safety Research Topics Database and a Visual Research Roadmap.

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