Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Dynamic Network Analysis of the NAS and the Impact of NextGen

Kathleen M. Carley, Ju-Sung Lee, Geoffrey P. Morgan

August 2014

Center for the Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems
CASOS Technical Report



Dynamic Network Analysis (DNA) was applied to the highly complex network of networks known as the National Airspace System (NAS) to help further the development and refinement of various Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) concepts, such as Trajectory Based Operations (TBO). This DNA assessment resulted in the development of over 40 models examining the flow of airplanes through the NAS and the organizational system managing these flights. These models were informed by air traffic flow data and assessments of the processes involved in routing and re-routing flights under current and NextGen technologies. This study resulted in a wealth of findings. With respect to NextGen these models showed that NextGen tended to change the distribution of tasks and so the effective roles of the various actors. For many actors this meant an increase in the number of tasks; however, many of these new tasks were monitoring tasks. This increases the overall situation awareness. NextGen also redistributes the volume of tasks so it is more equal across the various decision makers. FOCs become a more central part of the management process under NextGen, in part because they are more involved in the task management and monitoring the flight. Traffic Management units play a more active role, which allows them to see a broader context which should increase their capacity for predictive planning (4D planning). NextGen on average decreases the communication burden for many actors, although it increases for the FOC. The impact of NextGen is to reduce the communication burden, across the entire volume of flights within the NAS, by 30%-40%. Moreover under NextGen off-nominal events, such as bad weather, should not be as severe a “shock” to the system as currently. Essentially, under NextGen the difference in communication burden from a nominal to an off-nominal condition is less that under the current system

63 pages

Return to: SCS Technical Report Collection
School of Computer Science

This page maintained by