A bi-level system dynamics modeling framework to evaluate costs and benefits of implementing Controller Pilot Data Link Communications and Decision Support Tools in a non-integrated and integrated scenario

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Virginia Tech

A modeling framework to evaluate the costs and benefits of implementation of Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC), and Air Traffic Management (ATM) decision support tools is proposed in this paper. The benefit/cost evaluation is carried out for four key alternatives namely alternative A: Do nothing scenario (only voice channel), alternative B: Voice channel supplemented with CPDLC, alternative C: Alternative B with ATM tools in a non-integrated scenario and finally alternative D: Alternative B with ATM tools in an integrated scenario. It is a bi-level model that captures the linkages between various technologies at a lower microscopic level using a daily microscopic model (DATSIM) and transfers the measures of effectives to a higher macroscopic level. DATSIM stands for Data Link and Air Traffic Technologies SIMulation and it simulates air traffic in the enroute sector and terminal airspace for a single day and captures the measures of effectiveness at a microscopic level and feeds its output to the macroscopic annual model which then runs over the entire life cycle of the system. Airspace dwell time benefit data from the microscopic model is regressed into three dimensional benefit surfaces as a function of the equipage level of aircraft and aircraft density and embedded into the macroscopic model. The main function of the annual model is to ascertain economic viability of any deployment schedule or alternative over the entire life cycle of the system. The life cycle cost model is composed of four modules namely: Operational benefits module, Safety benefit module,Technology cost module and Training cost module.

Analysis using the model showed that an enroute sector gets congested at aircraft densities greater 630 per day. This is mainly because the controller workload gets saturated at that traffic volume per day. Benefits realized in alternatives B, C and D as compared to alternative A increased exponentially at traffic densities greater than 630 i.e. when controller workload for alternative A becomes saturated.

Modeling, Benefit cost analysis, Simulation, Data link, PFAST, CPDLC, Systems dynamic, Air traffic management, URET, TMA