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Commission responds to urgent need for ATM systems in Europe

There is an urgent need for a new generation of ATM (air traffic management) systems in Europe, according to the current issue of Transport Advance, the European Commission's newsletter for transport research. In response to this, the Commission has sponsored a series of proje...
There is an urgent need for a new generation of ATM (air traffic management) systems in Europe, according to the current issue of Transport Advance, the European Commission's newsletter for transport research. In response to this, the Commission has sponsored a series of projects all aimed at developing a proper ATM system for Europe.

Air traffic delays increased by 30 per cent last year, which according to Transport Advance is a clear sign that today's ATM system is struggling to cope with what is now a 5 per cent annual growth in air transport in Europe.

A new generation of ATM systems would mean that air traffic and airport controllers would use technologically advanced automation tools employing accurate navigation and digital datalink technology. Therefore the European Union has during the last five years been encouraging the development of these tools and technologies.

In the current issue of Transport Advance, five different projects supporting the development of ATM systems have been highlighted. These projects represent a cross-section of the work under way to develop a proper system for Europe.

The following projects are described in detail:

- Torch - is concerned with defining and assessing the technical and operational feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a proper system;
- Avenue - is concerned with developing validation facilities for large scale technical and operational testing of all aspects of the new, integrated traffic management system;
- Sourdine - responds to ever-present environmental concerns about the noise of air traffic;
- Ecottris - which is an air transport safety project, ensures that the human element is adequately trained for and adapted to technological innovations;
- Defamm - is seeking to increase air transport capacity in all weather conditions through the development and testing of advanced airport surface movement guidance, control and management systems.

Under the Fourth RTD Framework Programme, research took place in the Telematics Applications, Industrial Materials and Technologies, and Transport programmes, alongside other activities conducted within EUROCONTROL, the European Space Agency and individual Member States.

However, under the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, the emphasis is now on validating the most promising elements, together with new operational procedures and methods, before making recommendations for standardisation and implementation.

Source: European Commission, DG VII

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Evaluation - Transport
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