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Technology Pathways: Assessing the Integrated Plan for a Next Generation Air Transportation System Findings and Recommendations A complete list of the committee’s findings and recommendations appears below, in the order in which they appear in the report. Finding 2-1. Demand. The health of the U.S. economy is dependent upon an air transportation system that efficiently satisfies demand for passenger travel and air cargo. Anything that limits the ability of the air transportation system to efficiently satisfy demand is harmful to air transportation providers, users of the air transportation system, and the national economy as a whole. The JPDO Integrated Plan discusses the importance of demand, but often in the context of other objectives that are given equal or greater weight. Recommendation 2-1. Demand. The Integrated Plan should clearly state that increased demand is the key driver that mandates implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System. The JPDO should refocus its efforts on development of a systematic, risk-based approach for achieving the primary objective, which is to resolve demand issues and increase capacity, while also satisfying enabling, interrelated requirements for safety, security, environmental effects, consumer satisfaction, and industrial competitiveness. The Integrated Plan should make sure that secondary objectives, such as alignment of existing interagency efforts, do not overshadow the primary objective. The JPDO should establish goals related to cost, schedule, and level of performance that can be quantified using appropriate figures of merit. Multiple candidate scenarios and operational concepts should be defined and assessed in terms of the risk that they will fail to achieve these goals. Finding 3-1. Operational Concepts. The Integrated Plan implies that it will develop separate operational concepts for security operations, safety assurance, airport operations, aircraft operations, and ATM operations. Safety and security are inherent in the execution of the latter three, and operational concepts that integrate safety and security considerations from the beginning are more likely to satisfy system requirements than concepts that have safety and security imposed later in the development process. Recommendation 3-1. Operational Concepts. The JPDO should define operational concepts to satisfy future demand by phase of operation: airport operations terminal area operations en route and oceanic operations Safety and security risk management systems should be embedded in each of the above operational concepts, not set apart as separate considerations. The Integrated Plan should describe an iterative process for defining and assessing operational concepts as they relate to quantifiable system performance goals. The process should involve discussions with stakeholders and progressively more detailed modeling and simulation to assess performance and identify problems and guiding principles. The JPDO should support research to enhance and assess modeling and simulation capabilities. Finding 4-1. IPT Organization. Even though the current IPTs have multiagency membership, they are functioning primarily as experts in specific disciplines rather than as cross-functional, integrated, multidisciplinary teams that can deliver specific products to improve operational capabilities of the air transportation system. Recommendation 4-1. IPT Organization. As soon as possible, the JPDO’s IPT organization should be modified to better support the core goal of meeting increased demand in each phase of operation by structuring the IPT organization to match the structure recommended for the operational con-
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Technology Pathways: Assessing the Integrated Plan for a Next Generation Air Transportation System cepts. All of the current IPTs (except for the Master IPT) should be disbanded and replaced with three new IPTs: Airport Operations IPT Terminal Area Operations IPT En Route and Oceanic Operations IPT Finding 4-2. IPT Linkages. As currently organized, none of the IPTs interact sufficiently with all of the other IPTs with which they have shared responsibilities. The current IPT structure creates a potential for substantial overlap and duplication of effort. The recommended restructuring of IPTs would solve this problem. Finding 4-3. Core Research. Adequate support of all core technologies and processes upon which the Next Generation Air Transportation System will be built is crucial to validate the Integrated Plan. Recommendation 4-2. Core Research. The NASA administrator should continue—and the Senior Policy Committee and the JPDO should advocate for continuation of—research on core technologies and processes, including automation and human factors, necessary to develop the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Finding 4-4. Global Collaboration. U.S. leadership in fostering a substantial increase in collaboration with foreign organizations in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere would facilitate development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System and help ensure the competitiveness of U.S. aircraft and air traffic management technology. Recommendation 4-3. Global Collaboration. The FAA administrator and the secretary of transportation should immediately undertake a more vigorous effort to lead development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System in collaboration with foreign governments and institutions. This should include jointly funded, collaborative research to define NGATS operational concepts suitable for global implementation. Finding 5-1. JPDO Resources. Sufficient resources are not currently available to the JPDO for it to successfully define the Next Generation Air Transportation System and an appropriate implementation plan. Finding 5-2. Funding Stability. Development, implementation, and operation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System require a plan to assure adequate, stable funding. Recommendation 5-1. Funding Allocation. The members of the Senior Policy Committee should ensure that the federal agencies they direct or represent allocate funding and staff to (1) provide the JPDO with the resources it needs to define the Next Generation Air Transportation System and draw up an appropriate implementation plan and (2) ensure departmental and agency research in civil aeronautics is consistent with JPDO plans to enable and implement new operational concepts. Reductions in NASA’s aeronautics program that would significantly curtail research necessary to achieve goals related to environmental protection and other core research identified by the JPDO should be avoided and/or corrected. Recommendation 5-2. Funding Model. The secretary of transportation and the FAA administrator should lead the development of a proposal to adequately fund the development, implementation, and operation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System. This proposal should consider a wide range of options for providing necessary funding, both public and private, and for eliminating unnecessary costs. Recommendation 5-3. Cost Reductions. The implementation plan for the Next Generation Air Transportation System should explicitly address ways to reduce the cost of system implementation and operation. Summary Recommendation. The secretary of transportation, the FAA administrator, the rest of the Senior Policy Committee, and the JPDO should invigorate development, implementation, and operation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, especially with regard to the development of core technologies and processes, as follows: Focus the work of the JPDO on development of a systematic, risk-based approach for achieving the primary objective, which is to resolve demand issues and increase capacity while also satisfying enabling, interrelated requirements for safety, security, environmental effects, consumer satisfaction, and industrial competitiveness. Restructure the JPDO as a product-driven organization with three coordinated operational concepts and three IPTs focused on (1) airport operations, (2) terminal area operations, and (3) en route and oceanic operations (plus the Master IPT for systems integration and oversight). Consistently provide the JPDO and its IPTs with strong, fully involved leadership and program management capabilities, along with more full-time staff. Draw up a plan to establish a viable source of stable funding and a governance structure suited to the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Undertake a more vigorous effort to collaborate with foreign governments and institutions, to include jointly funded, collaborative research to define operational concepts suitable for global implementation.
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