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Systems Thinking for Safety/SESAR Resilience Guidance Material for Safety Assessment (SRM) and Design

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As part of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative of the European Commission, the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research, see www.sesarju.eu) program is designing new ATM concepts with the aims of improving fuel efficiency, cost efficiency, safety, and airspace capacity. A large number of technical and operational projects aim to develop concepts (technology and working methods) towards these goals, meaning that new trade-offs between safety, efficiency, and capacity will likely need to be found for future operations. Functional changes and new trade-offs have the potential to make socio-technical systems brittle emphasizing the need for Resilience Engineering and Safety-II concepts in ATM.

SESAR Project P16.01.02 “Ensuring ATM with SESAR is kept resilient” aimed to integrate concepts and perspectives from the new Resilience Engineering discipline into safety assessment. The SESAR Safety Reference Material (SRM) is the process by which operational and technical projects assess safety of the concepts they develop. There are a suite of research projects (e.g., P16.01.02) looking to explore how novel approaches to safety can be delivered into SESAR. Their vehicle to do this is via the SRM, as technical annexes. Thus, P16.01.02 was assigned by the SESAR Joint Undertaking to develop guidance for resilience to be part of the SRM, as well as general resilience design guidelines for ATM.

Resilience was defined as the ability of the ATM (people-procedures-equipment) system “to adjust its functioning prior to, during, or following changes and disturbances, so that it can sustain required operations under both expected and unexpected conditions”). Note that since this definition includes expected conditions, which is the focus of traditional methods within the Safety-I paradigm, there is a complementary relationship of traditional methods and perspectives and the resilience/Safety-II perspective, which is also reflected and explored in this project.

Further reading

Woltjer, R., Haraldsson, J., Pinska-Chauvin, E., Laursen, T., & Josefsson, B. (2013). Resilience Engineering in Air Traffic Management. Increasing Resilience through Safety Assessment in SESAR. Paper presented at SESAR Innovation Days 2013.

Woltjer, R., Haraldsson, J., Pinska-Chauvin, E., Laursen, T., & Josefsson, B. (2013). Resilience in ATM operations: Incorporating Robustness and Resilience in Safety Assessment. Paper presented at REA2013.