Air Route Clustering for a Queuing Network Model of the National Airspace System

May 2014
Topics: Air Traffic Management, Airspace, Airports, Decision Support Systems, Modeling and Simulation
James S. DeArmon, The MITRE Corporation
Christine P. Taylor, The MITRE Corporation
Tudor Masek, The MITRE Corporation
Craig R. Wanke, The MITRE Corporation
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A network queuing model of the National Airspace System has been developed to support research into a strategic air traffic flow management capability. One of the challenges in the execution of the model is the size of the network—the computing resources required when modeling the entire United States are immense. As a way to reduce the network size, we investigate route clustering, i.e., grouping similar routes to reduce the number of paths between two airports. Clustering routes comes at a cost: as the number of clusters falls, the with-in cluster variability rises, and the solution quality is diminished. A trade-off curve for solution quality vs. cluster variability is developed for a sample problem involving seven major airports.​

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