An ecological flow-based decision support tool for future 4D-trajectory management by air traffic control

This research aims to develop a novel flow-based ecological decision support tool for 4D-trajectory management by air traffic control. For this purpose, and by following an approach based on Cognitive Systems Engineering (CSE), the following steps will be taken. First, a functional decomposition will be made of the work domain (or ecology) of trajectory-based air traffic control. By arranging the elements and functions in the Abstraction Decomposition Space (ADS), this will allow to identify the systems’ part-whole (i.e., decentralized vs. centralized) relationships of the flow based control task. That is, the elements which support the mental integration of decentralized information, and which support centralized control strategies will be made explicit. Next, by taking an EID approach, the various elements and functions which define the centralized control ecology will be transformed into meaningful visual representations to the controller. These representations are in essence the tools with which the controller can apply centralized control. Finally, an interactive prototype of a flow-based controller decision support tool will be developed and validated in a human-in-the-loop experiment. This article will address the design process, the prototype decision support tool, and the findings from the initial validation experiment.