Project 21 -N-controlo Surface Demo

Taxiing aircraft contribute significantly to fuel burn and emissions at airports. The quantities of fuel burned as well as different pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter, are functions of aircraft taxi duration (along with throttle setting, number of running engines, and pilot and airline decisions regarding engine shutdowns during delays). The reduction of taxi times through improved planning of surface movements has the potential to reduce these emissions. Project 21 focuses on opportunities to reduce surface emissions through departure planning and surface movement optimization. The research will include a detailed plan for implementing these techniques in a pilot study at an airport, with an overall goal of initiating wider adoption of the methods throughout the United States. This project will investigate approaches, such as gate-holds and taxi-route planning, to decrease taxi times. In addition, environmental factors will be incorporated into the objective functions of the optimization through the use of aircraft-specific delay costs, which will reflect the fact that the emissions characteristics of various aircraft may differ. Current baseline fuel burn and emissions at major airports will also be assessed in order to identify locations where the proposed strategies will produce the most benefits. Project 21 will also address the development of approaches to surface movement optimization that will balance both airport throughput and emissions objectives, while simultaneously ensuring fairness in the delays incurred by the different airlines. Barriers to the practical adoption of these approaches, such as gate usage and ownership issues, as well as surface infrastructure considerations such as taxiway layouts, the availability of tugs, and the presence and location of holding areas, will be identified, and possible approaches to overcome these barriers will be developed. Airline competition, tradeoffs between airline and air traffic control objectives, traffic flow management initiatives in the airspace and the presence of uncertainty in airport processes (which result in uncertain estimates of pushback times and taxi times) also pose significant challenges to surface movement optimization, and will be addressed.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $500000.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Hileman, James

    Maurice, Lourdes

  • Performing Organizations:

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Lincoln Labs
    Boston, MA  United States 
  • Start Date: 20120510
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 30573

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01572522
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: DTFAWA-11-X-80007
  • Files: RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2015 1:02AM