One of the major challenges in the Strategic Research Agenda for European Aeronautics is that airport utilisation will be able to accommodate increasing traffic without undue delays, while preserving safety, improving efficiency and service, and reducing the burden on the environment. This implies that airport stakeholders and policy makers face challenging airport decision-making questions with strong interdependencies and with often conflicting objectives.
The decision-making process and implementation for dealing with the decision-making questions involve the deployment of technical expertise or decision support in:
- Knowledge of the problem domain and scope;
- Knowledge of (selecting and using) tools capable of supporting the particular decisions;
- Interpretation of tool results in the particular decision-making context; and
- Availability of appropriate data fulfilling the particular decision-making and tool requirements.
In response to the decision-making requirements the objective of the SPADE-2 Project was to design (if and where necessary – in addition to use cases designed during Phase 1), implement, test and evaluate appropriate use cases that are seamlessly integrated in a user-friendly computational platform (for instance, decision-support system) for airport stakeholders and policy makers. This system provides support in airport (both airside and terminal) design, development and planning, allowing integrated impact and trade-off analyses for a variety of measures of airport effectiveness (for example, capacity, delay, level of service, environment, and third-party risk). Use cases are a wizard-type use of an integrated set of tools assisting airport-domain experts in addressing widely arising airport planning, development or design questions (what-if) without requiring familiarity with the tools themselves.
The SPADE-2 Project was Phase 2 of two phases. Phase 1 (and previous) phase dealt with the development of a complete design of the decision-support system and the implementation of an early prototype of the system. By means of this prototype a visual example of the system to potential users was provided. Phase 2 concerned the actual implementation, testing and validation of the system.
As indicated the SPADE System was based on the concept of use cases. The ultimate objective of use cases is to help airport-domain experts analyse the various airport performance trade-offs involved in each case and to provide appropriate decision support. This concept enables the user to perform the analysis under consideration through 'pre-structured' and built-in, 'wizard-type' navigation aids in a single run by shielding the user from the complicated model and tool world: enabling him/her to focus on the real question to be addressed. The system contains a specific set of use cases.
The activities in the SPADE-2 Project followed a standard lifecycle and consisted of five major activities:
- Preparation. The results and feedback of the SPADE Project (Phase 1) were assessed so as to update and detail the activities to be performed in the SPADE-2 Project.
- Implementation and testing of system components. The system generic components (i.e., components that are generic to the system and which may be used by different use cases) were implemented and tested.
- Implementation, testing and integration of use cases. Each use case was implemented and tested: its input and output interface, and its computational component. Furthermore, the implemented and tested use cases were seamlessly integrated into the SPADE System.
- Validation. Any areas where the design and implementation of the use cases and the overall system did not properly support the provision of the functionality specified, the use-case requirements were identified and any correction was carried out.
- Field exploitation and dissemination. This activity concerned an operational assessment of the system by airport stakeholders in their real environment, and the determination of the future use and commercial exploitation of the final system. Also two User Group Meetings and a World-wide Conference (on airport performance assessment) were organised.
The main results of the SPADE-2 Project are a user-friendly, fully tested decision-support system for airport development, planning and design,with regards to integration, validation against requirements, and usability and operational assessment. And a set of use cases that are seamlessly integrated into this system. The system will enable airport stakeholders and policy makers to perform integrated impact assessments in the various levels of decision making through pre-structured paths and built-in, 'wizard-type' navigation aids.