Publication Date

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Human Factors/Ergonomics


Kevin Jordan


Air Traffic Management, Automation, NextGen, Trust

Subject Areas

Information technology; Psychology; Aerospace engineering


Future air traffic environments have the potential to exceed human operator capabilities. In response, air traffic control systems are being modernized to provide automated tools to overcome current-day workload limits. Highly accurate aircraft trajectory predictions are a critical element of the automated tools envisioned as part of the evolution of today's air traffic management system in the United States, known as NextGen. However, automation accuracy is limited due to the effects of external variables: "errors" such as wind forecast uncertainties. The focus of the Trajectory Prediction Uncertainty simulation at NASA Ames Research center were the effects of varied levels of accuracy on operator's tool use during a time based metering task. The simulation's environment also provided a means to examine the relationship between an operator's reliance strategy and underlying trust attitude. Operators were found to exhibit an underlying trust attitude distinct from their reliance strategies, supporting the strategic use of the Human-Automation trust scale in an air traffic control environment.