Researchers are attempting to improve the control tower software system using mathematics and optimization techniques. (Photo: ThinkStock)

Researchers have developed an optimization system that identifies the optimal timing and taxiing sequences for runway use by a given aircraft. It plans detailed taxiing routes, recommends new routes automatically, and responds to a continuous stream of updated information. The model takes into account the basic rules and physical restrictions that apply at all airports, such as safety zones around turning aircraft and one-way taxiing routes.

The model is designed to set up routes that avoid taxiing conflicts. It also defines a safety zone around each plane that varies in size and shape according to factors such as aircraft speed, wingspan, and the nature of its present activity. Optimal surface traffic movements require that these zones must never overlap. The model is being continuously supplied with data on the status of all aircraft movements on the ground and in the airspace surrounding the airport.