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Can NGATS Meet the Demands of the Future?

Dr. Sherry Borener, JPDO
Gregory Carr, Sensis Corporation
David Ballard, GRA Inc.
Shahab Hasan, LMI


The JPDO[1] applies an integrated approach to evaluate the effectiveness of NGATS strategies for transforming the National Airspace System (NAS).  The central evaluation question is whether the proposed investments of the NGATS will meet the national goals identified in the Integrated National Plan.  As a corollary to this central question the JPDO evaluation and analysis team examines the magnitude and types of problems that may arise if the NAS is not expanded to meet future transportation demand. 

The NAS is a complex system consisting of a large number of subsystems that interact both operationally and institutionally.  This complexity poses unique challenges for the models as well as the opinion and insight of system experts that the JPDO uses to represent the impact of NGATS strategies on NAS.  No single analytical model has the scope and flexibility to perform the full range of simulations and calculations required for thorough analyses of the NGATS strategies and their potential impact within a transformed NAS.  For that reason the JPDO has linked together a suite of models to represent all components of the NAS from “curb-to-curb”.  The results of these models are then reviewed by experts who have been convened to supplement the application of the analytical capabilities.

In this paper, we describe: the analytic framework that is being developed for these analyses; how we project the aviation demand that NGATS will have to satisfy;

[1] The JPDO evaluation and analysis team includes participants from key government and support organizations with a wide array of skills and knowledge including: a technical understanding of the air transportation system; the economic and policy issues that affect this air transportation system; environmental, safety and security requirements; and the capability to model various future states of this system.

some preliminary results of how well the NGATS meets this demand; and, finally, the next steps in the continuing evaluation of the NGATS transformation.  

The Analytic Framework

The JPDO evaluation and analysis team has developed an analytic framework that integrates work from the JPDO Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) and other JPDO working groups. The framework includes models of the important aspects of the NAS, which will be used to assess the effects and effectiveness of the NGATS strategies and action plans.  This assessment will provide a basis for prioritizing investments in a National Plan to transform the NAS and achieve the six National Goals.  The assessment will include measures of the operational, economic, environmental, safety and security state of the air transportation system, with and without transformation.

Once NGATS strategies for NAS transformation have been developed within the JPDO by its Integrated Product Teams (IPTs), the salient parts of the evaluation and analysis approach are:

1)     The development and characterization of one or more “baseline” future scenarios for the demand for air transport services in the NAS.

2)     The characterization of the JPDO/IPT transformation strategies in terms that permit them to be assessed against the baseline by the JPDO models.

3)     The evaluation of characterized strategies using the baseline NAS scenario and the JPDO portfolio of modeling tools.

4)     The quantification of the NAS impacts identified in the strategy evaluation in terms of diverse metrics that describe important aspects of NAS performance.

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