The Air Transport in general and the Air Traffic Management system are formed by a high number of elements, human, organisational and technological, that interact with each other creating a unique system of intrinsic complexity. The variability of the initial conditions and the high number of potential scenarios makes the system performance particularly difficult to predict. As a consequence, the propagation of perturbations and disruption, and the understanding of the allocation of resources needed to mitigate those undesired phenomena, represent a major challenge in today system design.
Technological and procedural solutions are being investigated in a number of research projects, but the adaptability of the system to perturbations has proven a demanding research topic that Europe needs to address to understand the how to build a future operational concept resistant to these undesired events.
There is no definition of resilience in air transport yet and therefore there are no unique metrics for it. Potentially, different metrics take into account different aspects of the resilience of the system. Therefore it is important to develop metrics quantifying the level of resilience of the system and the likelihood of an (undesired) emergent phenomenon to propagate throughout the system without an exact understanding of the different mechanisms to mitigate it.
The Resilience2050.eu presents a research project that leans on the analysis of the resilience concepts, analyses the current system behaviour focusing on the propagation of undesired events and builds the future ATM concept designed to adapt to disruptions and perturbations, providing a methodology to address the resilience of the system, including a solid quantitative assessment.
Measuring aviation resilience
An EU group is investigating resilience in air traffic control systems. Results include a new performance framework, plus novel ways of measuring and computing system responsiveness.
Air traffic management (ATM) involves very complex systems, which can become unstable. Preventing system disruption requires understanding of the circumstances causing instability.
Such is the goal of the EU-funded project http://www.resilience2050.eu (RESILIENCE2050.EU) (New design principles fostering safety, agility and resilience for ATM). The term resilience describes the ability of a system to return to normality after perturbation. The seven-member consortium is investigating ATM system resilience. The study draws upon methods derived from similar concepts in other fields, aiming to create a new theoretical framework and system of measurement. The project runs for 36 months to end-2015.
Work during the project's first half involved two main aspects. One achievement was developing a framework that includes resilience as a performance property. The results, presented at conferences and symposia, were accepted by various aviation stakeholders.
The second goal was a metric capable of measuring resilience and performance. Using best available data mining techniques, the team examined disturbances in ATM systems. Thus, the project yielded a multilayer metric able to compute system delay responses to disturbances elsewhere in the aviation network.
During the reporting period, the team also laid foundations for second-period work.
To date, RESILIENCE2050.EU has taken steps towards new, more efficient and stable aviation management systems. The outcomes could lead to smoother air transportation.