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The influence of task load on situation awareness and control strategy in the ATC tower environment.

Friedrich, Maik and Biermann, Maresa and Gontar, Patrick and Biella, Marcus and Bengler, Klaus (2018) The influence of task load on situation awareness and control strategy in the ATC tower environment. Cognition, Technology and Work, 20 (2), pp. 205-217. Springer. doi: 10.1007/s10111-018-0464-4. ISSN 1435-5558.

[img] PDF - Only accessible within DLR bis November 2024 - Postprint version (accepted manuscript)

Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10111-018-0464-4


The safe and efficient operation of air traffic is highly dependent on the performance of the Air Traffic Control Officer (ATCO). The ATCOs control the traffic within defined areas by monitoring the traffic and granting clearances. A key element in analyzing the ATCOs is their interaction with the environment through their workplace. Especially the influence of task load on their situation awareness (SA) and applied control strategy provides information on the quality of the workplace. As task load increases, controllers are able to maintain performance by using different management or compensation strategies. This article supports the evaluation of ATCO’s workplaces by focusing on whether probe techniques for assessing SA are applicable for tower control operation and for measuring the influences of increased task load on the control strategy. An experiment with nine ATCOs was conducted in a simulated real-time air traffic control environment. Different measurements for SA were applied and compared regarding their efficiency and validity. The manipulation of task load and visibility influenced the SA and control strategy at the same time. Performance metrics were selected in advance to evaluate the participant’s efficiency. SA was measured with a probe technique and an offline self-assessment method. Findings suggest that probe techniques increase the insight into the understanding of SA in comparison to self-assessment and that they are applicable to the air traffic control environment. Control strategies were derived from the information-gathering process via the eye-movement behavior and connected to task load. The results imply that SA is part of the individual performance and that increasing demand through task load is handled with an adaptation of the control strategy.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/123415/
Document Type:Article
Title:The influence of task load on situation awareness and control strategy in the ATC tower environment.
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Friedrich, MaikUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3742-2322UNSPECIFIED
Gontar, PatrickTechnische Univesität München, Institute of ErgonomicsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Biella, MarcusUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4836-4180UNSPECIFIED
Bengler, KlausTechnische Univesität München, Institute of ErgonomicsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:1 January 2018
Journal or Publication Title:Cognition, Technology and Work
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 205-217
Keywords:Task load, Situation awareness, Strategy identification, Eye tracking, Air traffic control
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:air traffic management and operations
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Human factors and safety in Aeronautics (old)
Location: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Flight Guidance > Systemergonomy
Deposited By: Friedrich, Maik
Deposited On:26 Nov 2018 15:27
Last Modified:28 Mar 2023 23:52

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