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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Analysis of the Route-Based Aggregate Model for Strategic Air Traffic Control

  • Author(s): De Los Santos Bernad, Victor
  • Advisor(s): Mease, Kenneth D.
  • et al.

Because of the vital importance of the National Airspace System (NAS) and its diagnosed growth over the next years, the planning and prediction at a strategic phase of the Traffic Flow Management (TFM) proves to be a difficult task but a useful tool to reduce the airspace congestion. Research has led to the creation of several models in order to address this challenge. Because of the complexity of the problem, the Eulerian (aggregate) approach may be the best to reduce the dimension and complexity of the problem, whilst maintaining accuracy.

This study analyzes one of the latest aggregate models created, the Route-Based Aggregate Model (RBAM), and compares it to the Large-Capacity Cell Transmission Model (CTM(L)) and the Link Transmission Model (LTM). These three models share some similarities such as the non-existence of diverging nodes or, in the case of the CTM(L), the condition of submitting all the airplanes in a cell to the next cell after one time-stepBut there are also big differences which make them different enough to coexist. For example, the RBAM can be used without the need of historical data in order to model the NAS, only the information of the upcoming flight plans. Also, the RBAM is designed to base its controls from a ground perspective, allowing ground rerouting and ground delay.

An explanation on how to implement the RBAM in Matlab can be found in this project, explaining the peculiarities of the translation of the cost function constraints into a Linear Programming (LP) problem, with several examples that show how the solution to the LP problem distributes the delays between ground delays and ground reroutings. Because the cost of a ground rerouting is different from the cost of a ground delay because of the extra fuel expense that the rerouting may cause (assuming always that the original route is shorter), a proper weighting of both controls is found, considering different variables such as the cost of the fuel or the cost of overtime parking at the airports for the delayed aircraft. Future research will study how to define the alternative routes for the ground rerouting and also how to implement airborne rerouting.

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