A time-based operation, as planned in the ATM future, is assumed to affect the controllers’ Situation Awareness (SA) due to a higher priority of meeting a time objective and increasing automation. This paper provides SA requirements on the design of controller support tools in time-based operations, based on a short literature review and an empirical study executed at Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL).
LVNL´s future ATM system requires an improved punctuality at the Initial Approach Fix (IAF) to enable Continuous Descent Approaches (CDAs) in the Schiphol TMA. A ground-based Speed and Route Advisor (SARA) tool has been designed to help Area Control (ACC) controllers with achieving a higher punctuality. A future follow-up for SARA could be an air-ground agreed Controlled Time of Arrival (CTA). The SARA real-time experiment results showed that this tool definitely decreases the controllers’ workload (R/T load, inputs), while the target of a higher accuracy at IAF was met. The findings have also pointed at two major impacts on the controllers’ SA as expected from the literature. First, controllers are currently more focusing on distance than on time in forming a mental picture of the traffic situation. This changes their working strategies in sequencing traffic and solving conflicts. Second, increasing automation (cf. SARA advisories) could be in conflict with the controllers’ own plan of traffic handling. They could loose a certain ‘feeling of control’ and ultimately their SA. This refers to the ‘out-of-the-loop’ problem of automation. However, there was a strong learning effect already after a few experimental sessions. This suggests that a gradual implementation and training will certainly help supporting a smooth introduction. Moreover, the impact on SA appears to depend on the specific design (e.g. Human Machine Interface (HMI), separation responsibility, quality of advisories). The resulting set of SA requirements on the design of such controller support tools should be addressed in future developments of time-based operations in ATM.
Theme: Human Factors
/ Other authors:
Koen van de Merwe,