The NAS (National Airspace System) Human Factors Safety Research laboratory conducts a broad, integrated program of research on the relationship of factors concerning individuals, work groups, and organizations as employees perform their jobs. Research is focused on improved person-job fit through selection, training, and changes to technology. Employees in this laboratory may perform applied research to develop, validate, and evaluate aerospace personnel selection procedures by conducting job analyses, developing or evaluating psychological and medical assessment methods such as tests and questionnaires, developing individual and group job performance metrics, and establishing scientific evidence of the validity of aerospace personnel selection procedures and their utility in achieving agency organizational and NAS operational objectives.
Examples of recent research projects include assessing the validity of Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) selection instruments, developing and evaluating biographical questionnaires and interview protocols for controllers and tech ops personnel, demonstrating the validity of ATCS selection instruments for placing applicants by option, developing new practical color vision tests for ATCS applicants, developing methods to assess ATCS applicant temperament and emotional stability, and investigating the optimal role of Operations Control Centers (OCCs).
Other laboratory employees perform research on the impacts of advanced technologies on ATCS performance, information transfer and human/machine design by utilizing real-time ATC simulation capabilities to investigate human factors operations concepts. Examples of recent research projects include conducting a strategic job analysis that will be used to select the NextGen controller, identifying ATCSs requirements for information external to the tower, and development of a human factors concept of operations.
Still other laboratory employees investigate work environment issues that affect employee job performance such as workload, time on position, age, fatigue, and color perception. These employees conduct field and laboratory research to assess the effectiveness of preventive or remedial actions, procedural or policy changes, or individual strategies and countermeasures to reduce performance decrements and enhance individual and team performance. Examples of recent research projects include an assessment of the effects of time on position and mental fatigue on dynamic comprehension, an analysis of safety risks associated with ATCS operational errors, and an evaluation of the utility of a set of Quick Reference Guides developed to provide assistance to ATCS front line managers. This research is carried out by networked teams of division employees whose participation varies according to the background and experience required for each project.
More information about current research projects can be found below.
Personnel Selection and Training
- Longitudinal validation of ATC selection instruments
- Evaluation of ATCS biographical data and interview selection procedures
- Concurrent validation of AT-SAT for tower controller hiring/placement (CoVATCH)
- Develop new practical color vision tests for ATCS applicants
- Improving ATCS selection from sources other than the general public
- Strategic job analysis: Selecting the controller of the future
Individual and Team Performance
- Dynamic comprehension: Time on position and mental fatigue
- Quick Reference Guide (QRG) finalization and evaluation
- Operations Control Centers (OCC) roadmap to 2014
- Normal Operations Safety Survey (NOSS) Input into Human Reliability Estimation
- Controller entry/retirement age
Advanced Air Traffic Systems