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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
Optimized Route Capability (ORC) Houston Site Visit
May 20, 2015

The Optimized Route Capability (ORC) project is an FAA/MITRE/NASA collaboration developing Traffic Management Unit (TMU) decision support for intelligent arrival meter fix offloading. At many airports, including Houston (Texas) Intercontinental (IAH), the arrival gates or meter fixes serve as the major bottlenecks for arrival traffic, rather than the runways. NASA is developing an algorithm to identify projected periods of meter fix overload and suggest individual flight reroutes to alternate meter fixes. The algorithm monitors estimated Time-based Flow Management (TBFM) arrival scheduling delay pushback to the Center on a large planning horizon (up to 2 hours from the meter fix). Excessive estimated delay pushback triggers the algorithm to search for suitable flights (both airborne and pre-departure) to reroute to an alternate meter fix at minimal cost. In most cases the reroute is expected to reduce the flight delay with minimal increase to flight distance. ORC team members from FAA, MITRE, and NASA visited Houston Center, Tower, and terminal area air traffic facilities May 12-14, 2015 to engage facility supervisors, traffic management coordinators, and controllers (including several National Air Traffic Control Association [NATCA] representatives) in discussions on ORC. In addition to positive feedback on proposed ORC functionality, facility personnel provided valuable insight into current operations and their greatest challenges, and how ORC could help address those challenges. Periodic follow-up visits to the Houston facilities will be planned as the ORC algorithm is refined, leading up to a prototype demonstration of ORC in March 2016. (POC: Shannon Zelinski)


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