TITAN Going Beyond A-CDM
Perhaps it will sound like an over-simplification, but one way of describing air traffic management (ATM) is to say it is the sum total of a series of decisions made by various stakeholders, based on their operational and business priorities.
Although these decisions are arrived at with the best of intentions, in the traditional scheme of things little attention is paid to the effects of a given decision on the operation of other stakeholders, let alone the overall air traffic management operation.
Like in other areas of complex human activity, in air traffic management also everything is related to everything else and the effects of decisions, good or bad, ripple through the whole system, often leading to surprising, and not always welcome, results.
The situation becomes really critical when air traffic demand grows to the point where the available ATM capacity becomes a limitation on further expansion. When the system is bursting at the seams, there is no room for less than optimal decisions.
It was this realization that led a number of experts in the United States more than a decade ago to come up with a new concept of making decisions. Stakeholders became partners and decisions became collaborative decisions.
CDM, or Collaborative Decision Making, was born.
Although at the time of its invention CDM was a rather straightforward proposition, over time it was reinterpreted several times and some of those interpretations resulted in mental pictures of CDM that has little to do with the original concept that was elegant by its simplicity. For some people and some companies CDM became a hoped-for cash-cow and this, more than anything else, led to the concept being tarnished slightly and the drive to implement slowing.
The abbreviation CDM is, unfortunately, also often used as a buzzword to jack up claims that a project or proposal was in line with the latest thinking. Scratch the surface, though, and it quickly becomes apparent that those claims are based on vaporware… The authors know only one thing: CDM must appear in their documentation to be seen as credible but what it really means, they have little or no idea.
Many articles and studies have been written about Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) but this is probably the first time ever that an attempt is made to tell the story of Collaborative Decision Making from its inception to the successful completion of the TITAN project at the end of 2012. What is more, the story will be told on the pages of this book in what we hope is an easy to read style, accessible to all interested partners regardless of their background or position in the world of air traffic management. Who knows, a few aviation enthusiasts may also find it interesting and will want to add it to their home library.
The idea for this book actually came towards the end of the TITAN project, which, as we will see, is something that takes CDM to new levels in the airport environment. During the whole project the team had to deal with the problems caused by a certain lack of understanding out in the field of the basics of CDM as well as the principles of information management that is needed to support cooperative decisions. In the circumstances, getting the advanced ideas inherent in TITAN across was also a challenge. Creating a “book” on the subject seemed like the best way of summing up the most relevant information on the subject of CDM and ultimately TITAN. To understand TITAN, one must understand CDM. This is why the first two parts of this book are dedicated to CDM and we get to TITAN only in the third part. If you are already familiar with CDM and system wide information management (SWIM), go directly to Part 3 to read about TITAN only. But do come back to the first two parts also eventually. There are interesting bits and pieces you may not have been aware of after all…