Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Steven J. Landry

Committee Member 1

Hong Wan

Committee Member 2

Karen Marais


Automated separation assurance is the most mature concept to handle increasing airspace traffic and capacity needs, yet the system lacks a way to pre-emptively identify aircraft separation problems. The intensity control measure looks to find situations where if an aircraft pair makes an unplanned change in heading or altitude at the wrong moment, an unrecoverable situation arises. This research analyzes static, open loop air traffic data in an en-route sector to determine how many high intensity aircraft pairs (HIP) exist per minute, and if the intensity measure is a safely manageable function for air traffic controllers. It is found that at current, 1.5x, and 2x traffic levels, it is possible for the number of HIP to reach a manageable level of 18 pairs per minute or less. At 3x traffic, this manageable level does not occur. It is also observed that the amount of variance in HIP per minute increases as the traffic level and number of aircraft per minute increases. Adjustments to the intensity control measure and specific characteristics of air traffic at the times when 18 or less HIP are present in current, 1.5x, and 2x traffic levels may provide insight into achieving a manageable number of HIP at increased traffic levels.