Computational assessment of authority and responsibility in air traffic concepts of operation

Amy R. Pritchett, Raunak P. Bhattacharyya, Martijn Ijtsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper proposes a systematic approach to examine air traffic concepts of operation for which the degree of innovation includes the potential for novel allocations of authority and responsibility between agents. The paper starts by demonstrating how concepts of operation can be modeled around the construct of actions, with accurate models of aircraft dynamics included as a common “truth.” A case study is provided in this demonstration, examining the merging and spacing of aircraft during arrival. Then, this paper discusses the specific fast-time computational simulation framework used here, and then it applies the framework to the case study to illustrate how metrics of emergent behaviors can be collected via the simulation. The analysis of these metrics is framed within the construct of the coherence of the function allocation. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of further applications of this method of framing and analyzing concepts of operation, as well as further extensions to the method. This systematic, computational approach provides more definitive insights than a sole reliance on subject matter experts’ estimates or extrapolations of the merits and concerns with a concept of operations. Likewise, this approach can quickly test a wide range of concepts of operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Air Transportation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Safety Research
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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