Implementing and Evaluating Alternative Airspace Rationing Methods
Burke, Jason M.
Ball, Michael O.
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While airport congestion has long been viewed as a major air traffic management problem in the United States, congestion in the en route airspace is drawing an increasing amount of attention. Sources of en route congestion, such as severe weather, often cause the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to delay and reroute aircraft in order to ensure safety. Most current research into methods for managing en route congestion seeks to reduce delay or aid in aircraft rerouting. However, there has been less attention paid to delay and reroute allocation methods an area in which there appears to be a pressing, practical need.<p>Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) is a movement within the air traffic management community that has combined the interests of the FAA and industry to develop a universally-accepted resource rationing process for congested airports. There is high expectation that CDM can achieve similar success in developing a parallel rationing process for the en route airspace. <p>The CDM-inspired research underlying this thesis led to the development of a software tool, the En Route Resource Allocation Prototype (ERAP), that supports the analysis of alternative en route airspace rationing methods. In this thesis, we define a basic en route traffic flow management scenario, conduct experiments, and derive ERAP results which provide insight into rationing resources in the en route airspace domain. It is hoped that ERAP can serve as a baseline for future comparison and help lead to final industry acceptance of an ideal rationing solution.