Interfacility Boundary Adjustment

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Authors: Philip Bassett
Jean-François D'Arcy
Jerry Hadley
Randy Sollenberger, PhD.
Earl S. Stein

Hadley, J., Sollenberger, R., D'Arcy, J. F., & Bassett, P. (2000). Interfacility boundary adjustment (DOT/FAA/CT-TN00/06). Atlantic City International Airport: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.


The objective of the study was to examine the impact of inter-facility dynamic resectorization on Air Traffic Control Specialists’ (ATCSs’) performance, workload, communication, situational awareness, and control strategies. As a preliminary investigation, the scope of the study was limited to lateral boundary adjustments (in contrast to vertical adjustments) and specific traffic situations that should benefit the most from dynamic resectorization. The researchers selected a heavy traffic situation and shifting weather patterns as scenarios for this investigation. The approach was to pre-define regions of airspace that could be allocated to one Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) or the other depending upon the traffic situation. This approach represented a simple method of dynamic resectorization that could be implemented using current air traffic control (ATC) equipment. Twelve full performance level controllers participated in the study over a 6-week period. We evaluated their performance using objective and subjective measures. We assessed controller workload using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index and the Air Traffic Workload Input Technique. We measured ATCSs’ situation awareness using self-ratings on a numeric scale. In addition, controllers completed questionnaires after each scenario and at the end of the study. The results indicated that dynamic resectorization did not interfere with ATCS performance. Overall, there were very few separation losses in the study. However, the results indicated slightly fewer separation losses for dynamic resectorization in the heavy traffic scenarios, although this trend was not statistically reliable. Finally, the results indicated slightly lower NASA-TLX workload ratings in dynamic resectorization scenarios. However, dynamic resectorization did not reduce controller situation awareness. In fact, controller ratings of situation awareness were higher when operating dynamic resectorization scenarios in both high density traffic and shifting weather situations.