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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Optimization of Ramp Area Aircraft Push Back Time Windows in the Presence of Uncertainty

  • Author(s): Coupe, William Jeremy
  • Advisor(s): Milutinovic, Dejan
  • et al.

It is well known that airport surface traffic congestion at major airports is responsible for increased taxi-out times, fuel burn and excess emissions and there is potential to mitigate these negative consequences through optimizing airport surface traffic operations. Due to a highly congested voice communication channel between pilots and air traffic controllers and a data communication channel that is used only for limited functions, one of the most viable near-term strategies for improvement of the surface traffic is issuing a push back advisory to each departing aircraft.

This dissertation focuses on the optimization of a push back time window for each departing aircraft. The optimization takes into account both spatial and temporal uncertainties of ramp area aircraft trajectories. The uncertainties are described by a stochastic kinematic model of aircraft trajectories, which is used to infer distributions of combinations of push back times that lead to conflict among trajectories from different gates. The model is validated and the distributions are included in the push back time window optimization. Under the assumption of a fixed taxiway spot schedule, the computed push back time windows can be integrated with a higher level taxiway scheduler to optimize the flow of traffic from the gate to the departure runway queue. To enable real-time decision making the computational time of the push back time window optimization is critical and is analyzed throughout.

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