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INTUIT Report Summary

Project ID: 699303
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTUIT (Interactive Toolset for Understanding Trade-offs in ATM Performance)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The ongoing ATM modernisation programmes, including SESAR, build on ICAO Global ATM Operational Concept, one of whose cornerstones is performance orientation. A performance-based approach is defined by ICAO as one based on: (i) strong focus on desired/required results; (ii) informed decision making, driven by the desired/required results; and (iii) reliance on facts and data for decision making. A performance framework is intended to translate stakeholders’ expectations into a shared set of values and priorities and be the basis for impact assessment, trade-off analysis and decision making.

ATM performance results from the complex interaction of interdependent policies and regulations, stakeholders, technologies and market conditions. Trade-offs arise not only between KPAs, but also between stakeholders, as well as between short-term and long-term objectives. While a lot of effort has traditionally been devoted to the development of microscopic performance models, there is a lack of useful macro approaches able to translate local improvements or specific regulations into their impact on high-level, system-wide KPIs.

The goal of INTUIT is to explore the potential of visual analytics, machine learning and systems modelling techniques to improve our understanding of the trade-offs between ATM KPAs, identify cause-effect relationships between indicators at different scales, and develop new decision support tools for ATM performance monitoring and management. The specific objectives of the project are:
1. to conduct a systematic characterisation of the ATM performance datasets available at different spatial and temporal scales and evaluate their potential to inform the development of new indicators and modelling approaches;
2. to propose new metrics and indicators providing new angles of analysis of ATM performance;
3. to develop a set of visual analytics and machine learning algorithms for the extraction of relevant and understandable patterns from ATM performance data;
4. to investigate new data-driven modelling techniques and evaluate their potential to provide new insights about cause-effect relationships between performance drivers and performance indicators;
5. to integrate the newly developed analytical and visualisation functionalities into an interactive dashboard supporting multidimensional performance assessment and decision making for both monitoring and management purposes.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first half year of the project (1 March 2016-31 August 2016), the work has focused on:
• producing the Project Management Plan and other management documentation,
• gathering the different datasets that will be analysed throughout the project and creating the INTUIT data repository,
• conducting a detailed literature review and a consultation process with a variety of ATM stakeholders, in order to define the research questions that will be addressed during the remaining of the project.

The management, communication and ethics deliverables produced during the first six months are listed hereafter:
• Project Management Plan (D1.1);
• Data Management (D1.2) plans;
• Project website (D6.1):;
• Ethics deliverables dealing with the procedures of the collection, storage, protection, retention and destruction of personal data (D7.1) and informed consent procedures (D7.2).

The work dealing with data acquisition and quality assessment has been documented in deliverables D2.1 Performance Data Inventory and Quality Assessment and D2.2 Qualitative analysis of performance drivers and trade-offs.

The main outcomes documented in D2.1 are:
• the INTUIT data repository, which provides all Consortium members with access to a centralised repository storing the different performance datasets that will be analysed within the project;
• data quality factsheets, which describe the characteristics of the different datasets (indicators covered, geographical and temporal scope, spatial and temporal resolution, etc.);
• a performance data guide, consisting in a visual tool to easily identify the most suitable database to find the desired performance data.

D2.2 includes an extensive set of potential research challenges extracted from a literature review and consultation with external experts. These research challenges are grouped into seven threads:
• ATCO workload, addressing the relationship between airspace complexity and capacity as well as the interrelationship between complexity in different airspace sectors.
• Cost-efficiency, where we will focus on the interdependencies between environment and cost efficiency and the effects of having different unit rates in the European airspace.
• Uncertainty, dealing with the effects of uncertainty in the different phases of flight on the performance of the network.
• Safety, where we plan to study how safety performance may be influenced by the performance targets in other KPAs.
• Equity and access, focused on the definition of metrics to assess access and equity in a quantitative manner.
• New KPIs, addressing those areas where indicators are insufficiently developed, such as interdependencies between KPAs, in order to propose significant metrics for future SES reference periods.
• KPI visualisation: this thread will loot at improving the current dashboards to enhance their usefulness as decision support tools for different ATM stakeholders, by increasing the level of spatial and temporal disaggregation and exploring new forms of data visualisation.

In addition to the above, some preliminary visual analytics exercices have already been launched, focusing on the development of visualisation tools for the detection and analysis of network bottlenecks from ATFM regulations reports. The main results of the data acquisition and quality assessment work, together with the preliminary results of the visual analytics exercises currently ongoing, are summed up in a paper and a poster presented at the 6th SESAR Innovation Days (

In the subsequent stages of the project, a combination of visual analytics and machine learning techniques will be used to study interdependencies between KPAs/KPIs and investigate in depth a subset of the abovementioned research questions. The selection of these research questions will be based on a combination of factors, including the relevance of the research question, the expected impact of the results, the availability of sufficient data, and the potential of visual analytics and machine learning techniques to advance the state-of-the-art in that particular field.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

After these first six months, INTUIT has analysed the main public and restricted-access databases regarding performance data in the ECAC area. This work, documented in deliverables D2.1 and D2.2, will be helpful for other research projects in order to select the data necessary for their research.

The project has also performed a thorough literature review and an extensive stakeholder consultation to select the most relevant research threads in the field of ATM performance modelling. The set of proposed research questions is focused on the development of the performance approach followed by the Performance Review Unit (PRU) towards RP3, as well as on improving our understanding of trade-offs between KPAs. The outcomes of this work are expected to impact positively on the competitiveness and the environmental sustainability of the European aviation sector at different levels. The methods and tools developed by the project will help to
to set effective mechanisms in order to encourage ANSPs to improve performance and lead to a better tuning of local regulatory targets, and will provide a deeper understanding of the high-level impact of local improvements or specific regulations. The contributions to the improvement of the cost-efficiency and the quality of service of the ATM system will ultimate benefit all the stakeholders of the aviation sector.

Additionally, the INTUIT partners are taking advantage of the project to strengthen their position in the aviation and ATM market, in particular to take a leading position in the application of data analytics to ATM performance analysis. At this stage, the main project activities are still in a preliminary phase, but the work done so far constitutes the first step towards a marketable product in the form of a decision-support toolset for ATM performance monitoring and management.
Record Number: 195105 / Last updated on: 2017-02-17
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