Department of Computational Social Science Seminar Abstract

Friday, 22nd January: 3.00pm

Evaluating Plausible Futures of the NextGen in the Air Transportation System

Guillermo CalderoĢn-Meza Graduate Student, CATSR

The Air Transportation System of the United States (NATS) is a complex system that suffers from problems like saturation and limitation in the possibilities of growth. The stakeholders of the NATS have proposed NextGen, i.e. a group of new technologies and procedural changes, intended to solve the problems, make the NATS more flexible, and allow it to grow without saturating. Most of the NextGen concepts have been proposed by experienced people based on their knowledge. Some concepts have been preliminarily researched, but in most cases, the consequences of NextGen are not well understood.

I am presenting results of the preliminary evaluation of tradeoffs that could result from the implementation of NextGen. The first set of results is about the tradeoff between route utilization and cost for the airlines. The Pareto surface was computed using Evolutionary Computation Techniques. It shows that cost and utilization can be controlled and balanced, in a simple system, leading to low costs and acceptable levels of utilization. It was also observed that some strategies (for the airlines) emerge from the experiment that are allow efficient operations in the system.The second set of results is about the interdependence of distance flown, number of conflicts detected, delays, and number of sectors and centers used by the flights. In this case, significant benefits were observed for the airlines and the environment by the reduction of the average distance flown when flights use direct paths and not flight plans. Controllers and safety also benefit with the use of direct routes by the reduction of conflicts. Passengers benefit mildly by a small reductions in the average flight delays. There is still work to do, especially the second set of results could be obtained from a more realistic experiment: on including more flights, and more sources of stochastic behavior.