A portfolio evaluation framework for air transportation improvement projects

Hyeoncheol Baik, Purdue University


This thesis explores the application of portfolio theory to the Air Transportation System (ATS) improvement. The ATS relies on complexly related resources and different stakeholder groups. Moreover, demand for air travel is significantly increasing relative to capacity of air transportation. In this environment, improving the ATS is challenging. Many projects, which are defined as technologies or initiatives, for improvement have been proposed and some have been demonstrated in practice. However, there is no clear understanding of how well these projects work in different conditions nor of how they interact with each other or with existing systems. These limitations make it difficult to develop good project combinations, or portfolios that maximize improvement. To help address this gap, a framework for identifying good portfolios is proposed. The framework can be applied to individual projects or portfolios of projects. Projects or portfolios are evaluated using four different groups of factors (effectiveness, time-to-implement, scope of applicability, and stakeholder impacts). Portfolios are also evaluated in terms of interaction-determining factors (prerequisites, co-requisites, limiting factors, and amplifying factors) because, while a given project might work well in isolation, interdependencies between projects or with existing systems could result in lower overall performance in combination. Ways to communicate a portfolio to decision makers are also introduced. The framework is unique because (1) it allows using a variety of available data, and (2) it covers diverse benefit metrics. For demonstrating the framework, an application to ground delay management projects serves as a case study. The portfolio evaluation approach introduced in this thesis can aid decision makers and researchers at universities and aviation agencies such as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Department of Defense (DoD), in more fully evaluating the air transportation improvement projects.




Marais, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering|Transportation planning

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