Human Factors in Airport Operations

Primarily based on the industry-wide prevalence of vehicle pedestrian deviations (V/PDs) attributed to a "loss of situational awareness," it is evident that there is insufficient understanding of the cognitive processes and workload required to operate on an airfield. Further, current mitigation measures disproportionately rely on an individual's sense of sight (markings, signage, and lighting) and hearing (radios), but make little use of other senses, and do not account for what is commonly called "information overload." That is, an individual only has a finite amount of cognitive bandwidth, and may not be making the best use of it. Boeing has stated that “human factors involves gathering information about human abilities, limitations, and other characteristics and applying it to tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments to produce safe, comfortable, and effective human use. In aviation, human factors is dedicated to better understanding how humans can most safely and efficiently be integrated with the technology. That understanding is then translated into design, training, policies, or procedures to help humans perform better.” We rely on both basic and advanced technology, as well as other methods to prevent V/PDs—ultimately the human is both the greatest asset and weakest link. Airports would benefit from understanding the demands and limitations of the human element operating in the airfield environment. The objective of this research is to identify and describe the cognitive abilities used in airfield operations, as well as the limitations and potential complications of current practices. The research should identify methods for mitigating risks inherent to human performance and should identify and/or recommend best practices for developing or improving these abilities.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $400000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 06-08

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

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

    Greenberger, Marci

  • Start Date: 20180731
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01677264
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 06-08
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 30 2018 3:03PM