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From Air Traffic Management to Finding a Parking Space: Dynamically Assigning Destination Resources while Enroute

Monday, July 24, 2017 - 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Keller 3-180
Michael Ball (University of Maryland)
Basic aerodynamics allows an aircraft, at cruising altitude, to fly at a range of speeds within a small, but not insignificant, window. Today, in the U.S. domestic airspace, there is little system-wide coordination of the speeds chosen by various aircraft. In this talk we review recent research that considers “systems” approaches to speed control. First, we investigate the problem of using coordinated speed control to “transfer” costly delays taken in the vicinity of a flight’s destination airport to the earlier enroute portion of the flight. We also consider changes to the underlying control mechanism used for ground delay programs. Specifically, we study replacing the use of controlled times of departure with controlled times of arrival. This change has a number of implications. Most notably, flight operators have the freedom to plan and dynamically control their flights’ trajectories. In particular, aircraft speed can be adjusted enroute in response to changes in the arrival airport capacity. This architecture involves coordinated speed control using a collaborative decision making architecture involving flight operators and the air navigation service provider (FAA in the U.S.). In both of these cases, optimization models support a distributed control framework.

We then draw analogies between these air traffic management (ATM) problems and a class of problems occurring within the developing framework of smart cities. Specifically, cars traveling into an urban areas can seek to identify an available parking location while enroute. Of course, most often there will be competition for parking spaces so matching supply and demand becomes an important part of the problem. This is quite analogous to the ATM context where multiple aircraft may compete for desirable arrival time slots. Appropriate consideration of these issues requires viewing the problem from the mechanism design perspective. We discuss the broader context that captures both of these problems and examine issues and research approaches to addressing them.