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Air Traffic Management System Safety Criticality Raises Issues in Balancing Actors Responsibilities

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues


Background & Policy context

Presently all ATM responsibilities end up with the last human element in the responsibility chain, i.e. the controllers. This is one of the strongest and also an understandable reason for the reluctance of controllers to accept a new system, in particular when he/she no longer depends only on his/her own judgement or on the proof of what happened (e.g. via legal recording). This actually reduces their controllability of various non-nominally evolving traffic situations, while their responsibility increases with traffic. This development leads to a paradox for the controllers.



The main objectives of the ARIBA project are to assess certification issues for ground ATM systems and operational procedures and to produce templates, which could benefit the present ongoing and planned certification activities in Europe. The focus will be on space-based navigation and surveillance, advanced ATC automation support tools and flight-plan exchange through air ground data exchange.


The project will involve:

  • Identifying a cost-effective methodology for ATM safety validation throughout all life-cycles, through a comparison of the results from earlier ATM validation studies sponsored by DGVII (e.g. VAPORETO, MUFTIS, SECAM, ASIVAL, GENOVA, RHEA) and those from other domains (e.g. nuclear, finance, ground transportation and aeronautics).
  • Evaluating the applicability of state-of-the-art ATM safety assessment methodologies, which are supported by facilities like TOPAZ (Traffic Organisation and Perturbation AnalyZer) and SAM (Safety Argument Manager).
  • Developing a harmonisation approach towards system safety criticality related responsibility issues including a practically effective framework for operational introduction of ATM enhancements and with recommendations for the implementation and further development of this framework and in relation with existing practices and ideas.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


ARIBA produced:

  • Five in-depth studies covering the following aspects:
    • an inventory of the ATM certification perception around Europe in order to harmonise different views concerning the level of detail in ATM certification;
    • an assessment of existing certification practices in other risk-critical domains;
    • an analysis of specific ATM certification problems;
    • an assessment of the human operators' performance in terms of ATM safety by means of stochastic models;
    • a case study on safety impacts of advanced ATM automation equipment, in order to relate performance settings on automated sub-systems to overall safety design targets.
  • a consolidation of results to produce a certification framework in ATM that allows for effective safety management in the implementation phase by responsible actors:
    • Part I - presenting an improved ATM safety certification framework applicable for various commercial actors in ATM. It identified how authorities could support practice approaches by enforcement of formal survey and approval.
    • Part II - outlining guidelines for the safety validation of changes to systems or operations in ATM by development of:
      •  suitable risk criteria;
      • dependability techniques for the assessment of technical (sub-) systems;
      • task load analysis for pilots and controllers;
      • fast-time simulation to assess air traffic network characteristics;
      • hazard identification and classification techniques;
      • accident risk assessment techniques;
      • feedback to advanced operation;
      • techniques to identify pro-active and reactive safety improvements to operations and services.
    • Part III - outlining guidelines for the safety validation of automated ATM systems by manufacturers of those components.

Policy implications

The project's results will be used to develop recommended standards in the

implementation of safety related ATM equipment. This may, in particular,

include the development of a safety forecasting model using a set of

measurable and available indicators prior to the system becoming

operational, but taking into account data and feedback from existing

operational systems.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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