Controller Position Design

Controller Position Design


The design of an air traffic controller's working position (CWP) is critical to the safe and efficient operation of a control room. Factors that affect CWP design include the following:

  • Controller comfort, including:
    • Seat design;
    • General lighting;
    • Noise;
    • Heating and ventilation:
  • Ergonomic arrangement of CWP with respect to:
    • Equipment;
    • Other staff within the control room;
    • Windows (where an outside view is required);
  • Equipment design, including:
    • Software philosophy and design;
    • Readability of radar screens;
    • Instrument lighting and readability;
    • Ease of use of controls;
    • Efficiency of communications equipment;

and many other factors.

The development or modification of CWPs is one of the most visible and critical activities in the upgrade of an [Air Traffic Management (ATM)|air traffic management (ATM)] system. It is also one of the most difficult. For controllers, the CWP is both their working environment and the tool through which they exercise their professional skills. Consequently, changes to the CWP are a matter of considerable significance, potential sensitivity and an area in which acceptance of a system upgrade can be won or lost.

Successful development and introduction of a CWP involves the integration of operational, technical and human factors expertise as well as good management and effective communication. It is also a long process and increasingly stringent regulatory and safety standards are generating new requirements in terms of traceability.

CWP development, testing and acceptance has been a source of difficulties for research and development concept studies as well as a major contributor to delays in the introduction of major systems upgrades in Europe and elsewhere.

The Core Requirements for ATM Working Positions (CoRe) project was a project of the European Air Traffic Management (EATM) Human Resources Management programme, carried out at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre and completed in December 2002. The purpose of the CoRe project was to consolidate and disseminate good practice on the requirements capture, design, and evaluation of ATM working positions for European ATM.

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