Picture of 4D ATM: traffic sequencing and merging
Air traffic control

4D ATM: traffic sequencing and merging

  • Status: Active
  • Since August 2011

Merging and sequencing arrivals in 4D.

In the coming decades, the task of an air traffic controller is expected to shift to one of strategic, trajectory-based air traffic management. This form of air traffic control is no longer possible without the help of automated support tools. In previous research, it has been shown that the time-space diagram, combined with a conventional plan view display is a good candidate for supporting an air traffic controller with the inbound planning task in the future situation. However, in this initial study, the vertical plane was not yet fully included. Secondly, during an initial validation experiment, creating and maintaining a ’mental picture’ of the traffic was reported to be a difficult task. These findings lead to the re-design of the interface in the current research, which focuses on implementing the vertical plane and improving the integration of information across the successive displays. An experiment has been performed with a PC-based simulation which validates that the enhanced interface can be used to manage the air traffic safely and efficiently. Secondly, it has been shown that the ability to manipulate the speed of an aircraft in the adjacent sector can significantly increase situation awareness and reduce controller workload.