Relative position vectors: an alternative approach to conflict detection in air traffic control

Vuckovic, Anita, Sanderson, Penelope, Neal, Andrew, Gaukrodger, Stephen and Wong, B. L. William (2013) Relative position vectors: an alternative approach to conflict detection in air traffic control. Human Factors, 55 5: 946-964. doi:10.1177/0018720813481803

Author Vuckovic, Anita
Sanderson, Penelope
Neal, Andrew
Gaukrodger, Stephen
Wong, B. L. William
Title Relative position vectors: an alternative approach to conflict detection in air traffic control
Journal name Human Factors   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0018-7208
Publication date 2013-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0018720813481803
Volume 55
Issue 5
Start page 946
End page 964
Total pages 19
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher Sage Publications
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: We explore whether the visual presentation of relative position vectors (RPVs) improves conflict detection in conditions representing some aspects of future airspace concepts.

Background: To help air traffic controllers manage increasing traffic, new tools and systems can automate more cognitively demanding processes, such as conflict detection. However, some studies reveal adverse effects of such tools, such as reduced situation awareness and increased workload. New displays are needed that help air traffic controllers handle increasing traffic loads.

Method: A new display tool based on the display of RPVs, the Multi-Conflict Display (MCD), is evaluated in a series of simulated conflict detection tasks. The conflict detection performance of air traffic controllers with the MCD plus a conventional plan-view radar display is compared with their performance with a conventional plan-view radar display alone.

Results: Performance with the MCD plus radar was better than with radar alone in complex scenarios requiring controllers to find all actual or potential conflicts, especially when the number of aircraft on the screen was large. However performance with radar alone was better for static scenarios in which conflicts for a target aircraft, or target pair of aircraft, were the focus.

Conclusion: Complementing the conventional plan-view display with an RPV display may help controllers detect conflicts more accurately with extremely high aircraft counts.

Applications: We provide an initial proof of concept that RPVs may be useful for supporting conflict detection in situations that are partially representative of conditions in which controllers will be working in the future.
Keyword Air traffic management
Decision support
Detection performance
Visual display design
Multi-conflict display
Radar display
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Sat, 02 Nov 2013, 19:11:18 EST by Professor Penelope Sanderson on behalf of School of Psychology