Air traffic management | Italiandirectory

Air traffic management: a matter of participation

Under the PACAS project, coordinated by the University of Trento, researchers will develop a software for a participatory air traffic management.

Each year worldwide over 1.6 billion people take the plane. They expect an enjoyable flight, safe, cheap as possible, without delays or cancellations, accompanied by stops in modern and functional airports, equipped with all comforts.

With over 10 billion flights per year (which is estimated to increase to 16.9 in 2030), satisfying travelers is a challenge for those who manage air traffic: a complex mechanism that has its bases at airports.

In Europe alone there are 425 airports and they employ more than 58 thousand employees (Eurocontrol annual Report 2014). There is who is responsible for security, who is committed to reducing operating costs, who handles the logistics, who is concerned with improving energy efficiency and comfort. But because airports can be working smoothly, it requires that all activities are coordinated and harmonized with each other.

Even the slightest change – such as the introduction of a fast track or a new signage or a change in a boarding pass procedure – can impact on other processes causing delays, added costs or risks for safety.

Keeping an airport under control now is possible and IT tools are the principal allies. Nonetheless the main engine is participation. Just like in popular social networks, the participation of all stakeholders allows to promptly intervene in decisions, anticipating the confront and thus limiting your risk of poor choices.

This conviction gave rise to the European project PACAS (Participatory Architectural Change Management in ATM Systems) aimed at building a participatory information system capable of supporting improvements in air traffic management of airports.

Once developed the system, it will allow each operator be alerted in advance of the planned changes in another sector and of the potential effects over its area of interest.

In more details, the key elements of PACAS are:

  • domain-specific modeling languages to express heterogeneous perspectives of ATM domain experts;
  • impact propagation techniques to align multiple perspectives;
  • a gamified platform as key driver for collaboration.

The PACAS consortium will leverage state-of-art multi-view modeling methods, multi-objective reasoning techniques, and gamification approaches to develop and evaluate an innovative ATM participatory change management process.

The validation will be assisted by an external advisory board, composed of ATM domain experts, focusing on a limited number of strategic objectives concerning economical, organizational, security and safety aspects.

Funded with € 1 million by the Horizon 2020 UE Program, the biennial project PACAS comes under the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research), a wider approach initiative launched by the European Union to give life, during the next 30 years, to a more fluid and secure air transport system.

PACAS is coordinated by the University of Trento, in the front row with the Department of Engineering and Computer Science (in particular, the research team led by Paolo Giorgini ) and the Department of Economics and Management (through Roberta Cuel and Diego Ponte). The University of Trento extended the project to other international partners: the Norwegian Research Centre Stiftelsen (SINTEF), the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) and the industrial partner Deep Blue srl.

The official launch of the project PACAS with all partners took place on 17 March at the Department of Sociology and Social Research. The project will last two years.

For further information about the project: Prof. Paolo Giorgini, Department of information engineering and computer science, paolo.giorgini@unitn.it