May 6, 2016


Improving Air Transportation System Performance through Coordinated Speed Control


1:40 pm - 3:00 pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


Joint work with James Jones and Dave Lovell

Basic aerodynamics allows an aircraft, at cruising altitude, to fly at a range of speeds within a small, but not insignificant, window. Today, in the U.S. domestic airspace, there is little system-wide coordination of the speeds chosen by various aircraft. To an extent this is justified: pilots and their airlines should have operational freedom whenever possible and safe. On the other hand, to the extent that better coordination of aircraft speed can improve system performance, systems approaches to speed control should be considered. In this talk we start by reviewing a range of recent research that has considered “systems” approaches to speed control. We then consider the specific problem of using coordinated speed control to “transfer” costly delays taken in the vicinity of a flight’s destination airport to the earlier enroute portion of the flight. We present a control framework with associated integer programming models for this problem and show that substantial fuel savings can be achieved by employing such strategies.

We also consider changes to the underlying control mechanism used for ground delay programs. Specifically, we study replacing the use of controlled times of departure with controlled times of arrival. This change has a number of implications. Most notably, flight operators have the freedom to plan and dynamically control their flights’ trajectories. In particular, aircraft speed can be adjusted enroute in response to changes in the arrival airport capacity. This architecture involves coordinated speed control using a collaborative decision making architecture involving flight operators and the air navigation service provider (FAA in the U.S.). A control architecture, supporting stochastic optimization models and experimental results will be presented.

Biographical Sketch

Michael Ball is the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research and holds the Dean’s Chair in Management Science at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. He also has a joint appointment within the Institute for Systems Research (ISR) in the Clark School of Engineering and is a member of the Decision, Operations and Information Technologies Department within the Smith School.

Dr. Ball has over 100 scholarly publications, covering a range of subjects including air transportation, revenue management and pricing, supply chain management and system reliability. He has been co-Director of NEXTOR-II, an 8-university consortium funded by the FAA to carry our research in aviation operations research. Several of his research and consulting projects have led to implementations in industry and government. In the past five years he has been a member of various expert panels that have given advice to the United Nations, the FAA, the National Academy of Science and multiple airport authorities on aviation policies.

Throughout his career Dr. Ball has been an active member of INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. He just stepped down as area editor for Transportation for Operations Research and is now associate editor for the journals, Operations Research and Transportation Science. In 2008, he was president of the INFORMS Transportation Science and Logistics Society. In 2004, he was named an INFORMS Fellow.

Dr. Ball received BES and MSE degrees from Johns Hopkins University in 1972 and a PhD in Operations Research from Cornell University in 1977.

Thank you for your interest in the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Subscribe today to keep up with the latest ITS news and happenings.

Join Our Mailing List