Quantifying Air Traffic Control Productivity Enhancement for Aviation Convective Weather Decision Support Systems

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Thursday, 2 February 2006
Quantifying Air Traffic Control Productivity Enhancement for Aviation Convective Weather Decision Support Systems
Exhibit Hall A2 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Michael Robinson, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA; and J. E. Evans

Poster PDF (479.7 kB)

In an era of significant federal government budget austerity for civil aviation operations, it has become essential to assess the ATC productivity enhancement provided by improved aviation convective weather decision support systems. To this end, an exploratory field campaign was conducted during summer 2005 to assess ATC workload reductions attributed to the Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS). As part of this effort, real-time observations of CIWS product usage during multi-day thunderstorm events were carried out at 8 U.S. Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC). The real time observations data was used in conjunction with specific in-depth case study analyses, and control facility operations comparisons to assess the CIWS productivity enhancements associated with convective weather impact mitigation plan development and implementation.

In its current demonstration system deployment, the key FAA users of CIWS are ARTCC traffic management coordinators (TMCs) who take the lead in developing and implementing convective weather impact mitigation plans. Primary TMC tasks whose productivity may be enhanced through use of CIWS include situational awareness monitoring, plan development, inter- and intra-facility coordination, and the communication of plans to ATC controllers.

Results from the 2005 benefits assessment campaign demonstrate that CIWS improves productivity by:

1. Reducing the time required to accomplish plan development and implementation, and

2. Improving the quality and quantity of weather impact mitigation plans

Moreover, it was found that the ability of an ARTCC facility to develop and execute weather impact mitigation plans improved significantly when CIWS products were made available to Area Supervisors as well as TMCs. Specific examples of CIWS productivity enhancement benefits, and general circumstances under which these benefits were achieved, will be presented in the paper.