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NowGen – Turning the Next Generation Air Transportation System into a Reality Sooner Rather Than Later

Despite over 50 years of "all weather" operations, the global air transportation system is still prone to delays because, in the main, service providers and operators are, in reality, not able to prevent weather-induced capacity reductions. Further, neither service providers nor operators are able to respond quickly and effectively enough to mitigate the impact of capacity reductions on the movement of passenger and cargo. The costs of these delays and disruptions are significant. In the U.S. alone, the total direct cost of air traffic delays in 2009 was estimated to be $10 billion. This situation will clearly be exacerbated with the projected two-fold increase in air traffic over the next twenty years. Noting this problem, air transportation authorities in both the United States and European are engaged in research and development that they hope will lead to increased air traffic system capacity and utilization. In the U.S., the envisioned end state of this modernization effort is referred to as the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), and the effort to get there is being led by the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO). In Europe, the modernization effort is referred to as the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) initiative and is led by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU). Trajectory-based Operations (TBO) has been proposed by both the JPDO and SJU as a key enabler of the future air transportation system. TBO is the term for the control of traffic via negotiated 4-D trajectories as opposed to the current mode of operation where aircraft are controlled via incremental clearances. In an ideal world, these 4-D trajectories would be deterministic and, through centralized optimization, conflict and delay free once aircraft have left the gate. In reality, the air transportation system is stochastic in nature, thus it is impossible to develop such idealized 4-D trajectories. That being said, our goal must be to come as close as possible to this ideal. To this end, I will first present a pragmatic, stochastic-dynamic-programming framework for achieving energy and environmentally efficient trajectories, i.e. trajectories where, for the observed levels of uncertainty, the energy cost and the environmental impact of aircraft operations are minimized. I will then present the details and results from initial evaluations of the components of this framework. Specifically, I will present algorithms for optimizing surface, terminal area operations (including the transitions between the aforementioned domains) as well as for traffic flow management in the presence of uncertainties.
Type of Seminar:
IfA Seminar
Prof. John-Paul Clarke
Georgia Institute of Technology: School of Aerospace Engineering, Air Transportation Laboratory
May 28, 2010   16:15

ETZ E 9, Gloriastrasse 35
Contact Person:

Prof. J. Lygeros
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Biographical Sketch:
John-Paul Clarke is an Associate Professor in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering with a courtesy appointment in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Director of the Air Transportation Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received S.B. (1991), S.M. (1992), and Sc.D. (1997) degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research and teaching in the areas of control, optimization, and system analysis and design are motivated by his desire to simultaneously maximize the efficiency and minimize the societal costs (especially on the environment) of the global air transportation system. Dr. Clarke has made seminal contributions in the areas of air traffic management, aircraft operations, and airline operations – three key elements of the air transportation system – and has been recognized globally for developing, among other things, key analytical foundations for the Continuous Descent Arrival (CDA) and novel concepts for robust airline scheduling. His research has resulted in significant changes in engineering methods, processes and products – most notably the development of new arrival procedures for four major US airports and one European Airport, and changes in airline scheduling practices. He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and a member of AGIFORS, INFORMS, and Sigma Xi. His many honors include the AIAA/AAAE/ACC Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award in 1999, the FAA Excellence in Aviation Award in 2003, and was selected as a Gilbreth Lecturer by the National Academy of Engineering in 2006. Dr. Clarke is currently Chair of the Advisory Council for Transportation Statistics (ACTS) appointed by the Secretary of Transportation, and a member of the Aeronautics And Space Engineering Board (ASEB) of the National Academies and the AIAA Technical Committee on Management. He has previously served on the AAA Air Transportation Systems Technical Committee, the FAA Research, Engineering and Development Advisory Committee (REDAC), as well as several other national and international committees. He was the first director of PARTNER, the Center of Excellence for Aviation Noise and Aircraft Emissions Mitigation, and is a researcher in PARTNER and NEXTOR, the Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research.