A graph based algorithm for adaptable dynamic airspace configuration for NextGen

Mehernaz P Savai, Purdue University


The National Airspace System (NAS) is a complicated large-scale aviation network, consisting of many static sectors wherein each sector is controlled by one or more controllers. The main purpose of the NAS is to enable safe and prompt air travel in the U.S. However, such static configuration of sectors will not be able to handle the continued growth of air travel which is projected to be more than double the current traffic by 2025. Under the initiative of the Next Generation of Air Transportation system (NextGen), the main objective of Adaptable Dynamic Airspace Configuration (ADAC) is that the sectors should change to the changing traffic so as to reduce the controller workload variance with time while increasing the throughput. Change in the resectorization should be such that there is a minimal increase in exchange of air traffic among controllers. The benefit of a new design (improvement in workload balance, etc.) should sufficiently exceed the transition cost, in order to deserve a change. This leads to the analysis of the concept of transition workload which is the cost associated with a transition from one sectorization to another. Given two airspace configurations, a transition workload metric which considers the air traffic as well as the geometry of the airspace is proposed. A solution to reduce this transition workload is also discussed. The algorithm is specifically designed to be implemented for the Dynamic Airspace Configuration (DAC) Algorithm. A graph model which accurately represents the air route structure and air traffic in the NAS is used to formulate the airspace configuration problem. In addition, a multilevel graph partitioning algorithm is developed for Dynamic Airspace Configuration which partitions the graph model of airspace with given user defined constraints and hence provides the user more flexibility and control over various partitions. In terms of air traffic management, vertices represent airports and waypoints. Some of the major (busy) airports need to be given more importance and hence treated separately. Thus the algorithm takes into account the air route structure while finding a balance between sector workloads. The performance of the proposed algorithms and performance metrics is validated with the Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS) air traffic data.




Savai, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Engineering|Aerospace engineering

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