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Stress Reduction, Safety and Efficiency in Future ATM through Flight Progress Information

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


Background & Policy context

As a consequence of the expected doubling in air traffic by the year 2015, coupled with the requirement for safer, more efficient and environment-friendly air traffic management (ATM) systems, demands on air traffic controllers will significantly increase in the future. Therefore new ATM concepts will have to address the effects of new technologies on the stress and strain of operators, while taking into account:

  • the different working environments for personnel in different European countries;
  • the differences between current ATM systems;
  • workload conditions and system malfunctions that vary with traffic volume.

SRATM aimed to measure the stress and strain of air traffic controllers when using air traffic systems with future technology. For that purpose, several real-time simulations implementing future Air Traffic Control (ATC) functionalities were run under an EATCHIP III compliant simulator, using controllers coming from three different countries.


The main objectives were:

  • to reach conclusions as to whether a reduction in workload will occur as expected through implementing new ATC functionalities;
  • to identify possible weaknesses of new systems, and develop suggestions on how to overcome the problems;
  • to establish the form of the relationship between stress/strain and workload/capacity;
  • to investigate the influence of potential ATC system malfunctions;
  • to examine the interactive effects of system malfunctions and different traffic levels;
  • to assess the potential for reducing delays or shortening routes.


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)


SRATM has:

  • performed measurements in local working environments at ATC centres in Budapest and Athens, with 41 participating operators;
  • conducted corresponding simulation runs with 42 controllers from Hungary, Greece and Germany, to provide a representative comparison with the measurements;
  • found that new technology ATC systems show a general good tendency to reduce stress, strain and workload for controllers, in particular for an assumed traffic increase of 50%;
  • indicated that - owing to the expected traffic increase in the future - strain and workload for controllers will be higher than today, and only partly compensated by the introduction of advanced ATC systems;
  • validated state-of-the-art air traffic simulation tools, and found a good reflection of real-life working conditions with respect to physiological measurements, fast time simulation and subjective strain measurements.

Policy implications

Backed by the findings from SRATM, further evaluation, validation and

eventual implementation of future ATC systems will be able to rely on

modern simulation tools. In the overall context of enhancements to air

traffic management, studies to broaden the knowledge about the effects of

new ATC technology on controllers' strain and workload are considered

valuable. SRATM has set up the methodological and scientific framework for

such in-depth investigation.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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