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Title: An assessment and enhancement of the interaction of multiple human factors in exacerbating human performance in air traffic control
Authors: Kartabani, Toni
Advisors: Mezannar, Nay 
Keywords: Human factors, human performance, air traffic control
Subjects: Air traffic control
Dissertations, Academic
University of Balamand--Dissertations
Issue Date: 2021
Air traffic control is a human-centered domain. Despite the huge advancements in this field, incidents and accidents are frequently caused by controllers’ unsatisfactory human performance which is in turn attributed to poor human factors. The majority of previous studies have assessed the effects of single human factors on performance. In reality, it is the interaction of multiple human factors that leads to safety-related occurrences. Accordingly, the current research investigates how multiple human factors interact together in exacerbating human performance in ATC, in addition to proposing mitigation strategies that can support controllers’ performance. This was accomplished through four major phases. First, this thesis presented an initial set of 9 human factors (workload, fatigue, stress, situational awareness, communications, teamwork, decision making and memory) and discussed its association with performance exclusively in ATC. Specifically, an analysis of 222 literature publications, 328 ATC incident reports and 28 questionnaires completed by Lebanese military controllers proved that these 9 factors occur in ATC and do interact together in degrading human performance. Second, TOPSIS (a multi-criteria decision-making technique) was performed using the results of the previous three methods in order to select the most frequently occurring and most negative human factors. Appropriately, the initial set of human factors was reduced to the following 6 factors: workload, stress, SA, communications, teamwork and decision making. Third, the refined set of factors (except teamwork and communications) was included in an experiment utilizing an online ATC cognitive computer game that was carried out by 40 university students. Experimental results showed that the human factors in consideration covary with each other and are associated with different relationships, with some factors being more correlated to each other. Furthermore, the interaction of multiple human factors was found to generate an accumulative impact on performance. Moreover, the experimental results provided a better understanding of the overall performance decline process by identifying a total of 10 different forms through which human performance can decline in ATC and by listing 37 behavioral indicators that can predict the status of controllers’ performance. Fourth, proactive mitigation strategies were collected from multiple sources (doctoral dissertations, governmental reports, archives and aviation websites) that can attenuate the consequences of negative human factors on performance in ATC. In short, this thesis shows that multiple human factors in ATC are more consequential than single ones and that their interaction cumulatively exacerbates human performance. Despite its limitations, this research tackled many areas in literature and built on previous studies to provide a more profound knowledge of collective human factors in ATC. One major outcome of this research is that it explains the human performance decline process in ATC by determining the different forms that a negative performance can take, the behavioral markers associated with it and the preventive strategies that can be adopted to overcome it.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 202-213)
Rights: This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the personal and educational use exceptions must be obtained from the copyright holder
Type: Thesis
Appears in Collections:UOB Theses and Projects

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