Four Dimensional Tubes as High-Density Highways in the Sky for a New US Air Traffic Management System



Team Picture: (Left to Right) John Alipio, Patricia Castro, Hong Kaing, Noreen Shahid, Omar Sherzai



Design Problem:  Analyze and Design an Air Transportation Network of 4 dimensional tubes between the Major Population Centers of the US:


It has been observed that the majority of commercial air flights in the US effectively define a well-structured network.  This network could be considered equivalent to the US Interstate highway system.  The major nodes of this network consist of roughly 60 cities.   An MIT proposal to NASA HQ is to structure the airspace into four-dimensional tubes connecting the major cities of the US. Using the Flight Explorer real time data available in the Transportation Lab and official FAA data bases, select this network and simulate the flows.  Assume 2 mile aircraft separation enroute and 90 second separation upon arrival.  This system would work synergistically with the slot auctioning system designed in Project A.  Discuss how this system would respond to weather perturbations that would require moving these non-intersecting tubes in space and time to avoid aircraft collisions.


Sponsor:  Honeywell, Inc., Dr. Lance Sherry Advisor