Moving Toward an Air Traffic Control Display Standard
Kenneth Allendoerfer, PhD.
Ferne Friedman-Berg, PhD.
Friedman-Berg, F., Allendoerfer, K., Pai, S. (2008). Moving toward an air traffic control display standard: Creating a standardized color palette for terminal situation displays (DOT/FAA/TC-08/15). Atlantic City International Airport, NJ: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.
As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) moves toward the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, there is a need to increase commonality and standardization across Air Traffic Control (ATC) displays. Increased standardization will reduce development costs and training requirements, as well as ensure that new ATC systems follow human factors guidelines and best practices. The FAA is currently conducting research and development activities that will contribute to the creation of a future Air Traffic Control Display Standard (ATCDS). The future standard will provide specific design standards for ATC displays that will be grounded in human factors research and lessons learned from the field. This report describes an initial ATCDS development activity that created a standardized color palette for ATC situation displays in the terminal domain. Existing guidelines regarding the use of color are not specific enough for eventual incorporation into the ATCDS and are difficult for system developers to implement. For this activity, we developed a standardized terminal color palette by measuring the colors on existing systems and determining whether those colors met human factors guidelines for attention, identification, segmentation, and text legibility. When existing colors did not follow the guidelines, we developed alternatives. The standardized palette contains sufficient detail to be included in a system specification. It lists individual display elements (e.g., datablocks, radar targets), as well as lists standardized color names and coordinates for each element. This report also provides guidance for system developers and vendors to help them implement a standardized color palette on their systems.
Note: The title and abstract of this technical report were revised on 19 May 2009.