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The Use of a Dynamic Solution Space to Assess Air Traffic Controller Workload


Mulder M, van Paassen MM, De Stigter,  S
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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d'Engelbronner, J., Mulder M, van Paassen MM, De Stigter, S., & Huisman, H. (2010). The Use of a Dynamic Solution Space to Assess Air Traffic Controller Workload. In AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference 2010 (pp. 1-21). Reston, VA, USA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Air traffic capacity is mainly bound by air traffic controller workload. In order to effectively find solutions for this problem, off-line pre-experimental workload assessment methods are desirable. In order to better understand the workload associated with air traffic control, previous research introduced the static Solution Space as a possible workload metric. The Solution Space Diagram is a mapping of intruding aircraft trajectories to the velocity/heading plane in the form of Conflict Zones and safe areas. Choosing a velocity vector in either one will provide an unsafe or a safe solution, respectively. In this paper an improved, dynamic Solution Space will be tested for correlations with air traffic controller workload, measured experimentally. A two dimensional experiment has been conducted, where subjects were required to line up all aircraft in a sector towards a certain waypoint, while continuously providing subjective workload ratings. High correlations were found between several Solution Space parameters and the subjective workload. Even though a conventional workload metric shows also to be highly correlated to the measured workload, the Solution Space could be the scenario independent workload metric that is currently missing in air traffic controller workload determination.