Air Traffic Control Specialist Performance Measurement Database (ATCSPMDB)
Updated:10:59 AM May 03, 2012
The Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) Performance Measurement Database provides a compilation of techniques that have been proven effective for use in human factor research related to air traffic control. The FAA has established strategic goals of improved ATC system safety and capacity. Performance measures are necessary to determine which elements of the system need to be changed in order to attain these goals, and to determine when progress has been achieved. The primary goal is to develop a comprehensive set of ATCS performance measures that relate to ATC system safety and capacity. The development of this database is one of several objectives required to achieve this goal.
This database represents an important tool for selecting appropriate performance measures that can be used for evaluation of NAS operations concepts, procedures, and new equipment. This database is intended to facilitate measurement of the impact of new concepts on controller performance. Using standard database techniques, a researcher can search the database to select measures appropriate to the experimental questions under study. With the selection of a particular measure(s), the database also provides citations for the primary source of the measure and additional references for further information. Having a set of measures with standardized parameters will increase the reliability of results across experiments, and enable comparisons of results across evaluations.top
Value to ATC
One of the objectives of the ongoing research activities at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical center has been to identify the relationship between controller performance and system effectiveness. A National Airspace System (NAS) Effectiveness model (below) conceptualizes the relationship between variables of NAS efficiency, capacity, safety, and controller performance.
This model illustrates how the ability of controllers to adapt to changes in the dynamic ATC environment impacts system effectiveness. Controllers must have the ability to allocate resources to adjust for changing system demands without compromising safety or effectiveness. The impact of system effectiveness on aviation operations is significant in terms of safety, flight delays, and excess fuel usage. Many factors such as the characteristics of the air traffic, weather, and the air carrier operating procedures impact the ATC system effectiveness. However, human performance, such as the behavior of controllers, technical operations specialists, and supervisors play a major role in defining system effectiveness.
Since the task of controllers within ATC systems primarily involve cognitive activities, they are difficult to measure directly. Therefore, evaluations of many aspects of controller performance have to be inferred. Although a large number of performance measures have been used in ATCS evaluations, their relation to system effectiveness are inconsistent and not well understood. While many of the elements affecting overall system performance are well documented, the relationships between controller performance and system effectiveness are still being explored.
From a human factor research standpoint, an important question to consider is how this database relates to the objective of establishing the link between controller performance and system effectiveness. Progress towards achieving the desired level of system performance can only be traced during development if there is a coherent set of performance and effectiveness measures related to the performance criteria defined in the design specifications. The ATCS Performance Measurement Database offers researchers and system designers such a set of performance and effectiveness measures.top
Each element in the database relates to one of four measurement types:
- Controller Performance Measures
- Measures of Air Traffic Effectiveness
- Air Traffic Controller Cognitive Performance
- situation assessment
- planning and decision making
- plan-decision implementation
- Air Traffic Environments
- en route
The layout of the database, and the process for extracting information from it, is shown in the figure below. Reports can be generated by selecting a desired category, and then identifying additional related measures to refine the search. Filtering the database can be done in different ways, such as searching by keywords, by a specific reference, or by measurement type. Probably the most efficient method of searching is by measurement type. As shown below, the definitions for each measurement type are located within the database and can be easily accessed. One can then decide on which performance measure best suits requirements of the current research question. By selecting a specific measurement type, the database produces a report containing references of previous studies and the variables or measurement techniques associated with that particular measurement type.top
This document contains detailed descriptions and information about the ATCS Performance Measurement Database and serves as a user manual.
Hadley, G. A., Guttman, J. A., & Stringer, P. G. (1999). Air traffic control specialist performance measurement database (DOT/FAA/CT-TN99/17). Atlantic City International Airport: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.