Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and ISR
The Federal Aviation Administration has promised significant technological and operational improvements to the U.S. National Airspace System through its program called NextGen – the Next Generation Air Transportation System. This is partly a response to the increasing congestion and delays that have been experienced since air traffic resumed growing after the terrorist attacks of 2001.
It also attempts to deal with forecasts of additional increases in air traffic, coupled with the realities of today’s constrained systems. Neither the current runway systems nor the current surveillance, navigation, and control mechanisms can support the expected growth.
The University of Maryland, through its NEXTOR research team, has played an active role in supporting the development of certain policies, procedures, and protocols which will leverage these innovations. This presentation includes a description of the new technologies and procedures that can be expected as NextGen is deployed.
The points where the University of Maryland research team played an active role, or expects to do so in the future, are highlighted. These include specifics such as the design of ground delay programs and airspace flow programs, both intended as resource allocation procedures in the presence of capacity constraints. We have worked on stochastic optimization models that take into account weather uncertainty, and that strive to maintain fairness and equity across competing air carriers.
We have worked on using preferential treatment under constrained conditions as an incentive to carriers to spend the money to purchase that part of the new technology that goes on the airplane itself. We have also worked on market-based mechanisms to allocate capacity at habitually constrained resources, including new capacity that is only realizable with these technological innovations. Finally, we have helped develop in-flight and terminal-area operational procedures that respond to new aircraft types and new flight trajectories.