The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Free Flight Program individually deployed the user request evaluation tool (URET), traffic management advisor (TMA), and controller-pilot data link communications (CPDLC) to a limited number of air route traffic control centers (ARTCCs). Before deployment expands nationwide, it was important to identify any potential human factors issues that may arise due to the collocation of these tools at the controller's workstation. In this paper, we present the results of a high fidelity human-in-the-loop simulation we conducted to evaluate the impact of URET, TMA, and CPDLC collocation on air traffic controllers. We examined collocation issues with a "stovepipe" independent configuration where none of the tools were integrated or directly communicated with each other. Twelve certified professional controllers participated in the simulation working in two-person teams consisting of a radar (R-side) and data (D-side) controller. The most important collocation issue identified was that controllers had difficulty accessing important information on the D-side display when URET and CPDLC were both operational (i.e., display clutter). Although neither tool alone caused display clutter, both tools in combination made it difficult for D-side controllers to find the information they needed quickly. This was especially true for accessing CPDLC windows, which became covered when controllers used URET. Good human factors design principles prescribe that users must have immediate access to important information and that critical information should never be covered. A "stovepipe" independent deployment of these tools will result in impaired access to timely information. The results of this study indicated that better efforts should be made to integrate the information from URET, TMA, and CPDLC on the D-side monitor prior to deployment of all three tools at the controller's workstation.

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Published on 01/01/2005

Volume 2005, 2005
DOI: 10.1109/dasc.2004.1391336
Licence: Other

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