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A Human-in-the-loop Evaluation of Two Multi-Sector Planner Concepts: Multi-D and Area Flow Manager  (2006)
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Several developments in the technology supporting air traffic management (ATM), such as digital data communication and improved positioning accuracy, have enabled consideration of new organizational and functional operations. One such consideration is a modification of the standard air traffic control team configuration to include a "multi-sector planner" (MSP) position. This MSP position has been investigated in several research and field studies, both in the U.S. and in Europe. The feasibility and effectiveness of two of these concepts were investigated in the current study. One concept, termed "Multi-D", took the traditional role of a data-controller but provided these types of services to several radar controllers instead of one. In the second configuration, termed "Area Flow", the MSP coordinated with neighboring MSP areas and attempted to manage the overall traffic flows and actively balanced sector traffic levels within their area of responsibility. The experiment consisted of a pair of one-week human-in-the-loop studies, in which each MSP concept (i.e. Multi-D and Area Flow) was tested separately with a different 5-person team. A baseline condition, which assumed traditional radar and data-controller teams with access to advanced decision support tools (DSTs) and automation, was also run each week to provide comparison data.

Overall, data suggest feasibility of both concepts, with many similarities and some differences. Both configurations emphasize strategic traffic management and neither safety nor efficiency appeared to be adversely affected. Workload data supported an assumption that a single MSP can cover multiple sector positions with a better overall workload distribution. The coordination data revealed that both Multi-D and Area Flow delegated a significant portion of their erouting tasks to the upstream sectors since strategic traffic planning needed to occur well before the test sectors. The viability of requesting these reroutes to the upstream sectors needs to be verified in future studies.
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Area, Concepts, Evaluation, Flow, Human-in-the-loop, Manager, Multi-D, Multi-Sector, Planner, Two
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Proceedings of the 25th Digital Avionics Systems Conference, Portland, OR
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Adobe PDF Icon  DASC2006_Lee_etal.pdf (Download Acrobat Reader Click to download Adobe Acrabat Reader)
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NASA Official: Joey Mercer
Last Updated: August 15, 2019