Development of Optimization and Simulation Models for the Analysis of Airfield Operations (2000)

Author: Dr. Hojong Baik

This research is concerned with the modeling and development of algorithmic approaches for solving airport operational problems that arise in Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems within the terminal area at hub airports. Specifically, the problems addressed include the Aircraft Sequencing Problem (ASP) for runway operations, the Network Assignment Problem (NAP) for taxiway operations, and a simulation model for the evaluation of current or proposed ATC system in detail. For the ASP, we develop a mathematical model and apply the Reformulation-Linearization-Technique (RLT) of Sherali and Adams to construct an enhanced tightened version of the proposed model. Since ASP is NP-Hard and in fact, it is a variation of the well-known Traveling Salesman Problem with time-windows, sub-optimal solutions are usually derived to accommodate the real-time constraints of ATC systems. Nevertheless, we exhibit a significant advancement in this challenging class of problem. Also for the purpose of solving relatively large sized problems in practice, we develop and test suitable heuristic procedures. For the NAP, we propose a quasi-dynamic assignment scheme which is based on the incremental assignment technique. This quasi-dynamic assignment method assumes that the current aircraft route is influenced only by the previous aircraft assigned to the network. This simplified assumption obviates the need for iterative rerouting procedures to reach a pure equilibrium state which might not be achievable in practical taxiway operations. To evaluate the overall system, we develop a microscopic simulation model. The simulation model is designed to have the capability for reproducing not only the dynamic behavior of aircraft, but also incorporates communication activities between controllers and pilots. These activities are critical in ATC operations, and in some instances, might limit the capacity of the facility. Finally, using the developed simulation model named Virginia Tech Airport Simulation Model (VTASM) in concert with ASP and NAP, we compare the overall efficiencies of several control strategies, including that of the existing control system as well as of the proposed advanced control system.

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