Together with users we overhauled the departure sequencing system at Arlanda airport for increased safety, fuel reductions and efficiency.
To ensure safety and efficiency in the densely populated air space over Europe, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation has requested more precise take off scheduling from the continent’s airports. At Arlanda, Stockholm’s international airport, the air traffic controllers were using old systems requiring a lot of manual work. This resulted in airplanes having to wait in taxi lines and not taking off as scheduled, meaning longer waiting times for passengers and tons of wasted fuel. Our task was to create an entirely new Departure Sequencing Tool to increase efficiency.
Extreme safety demands and carefully established routines make the air traffic controllers quite cautious when it comes to change, so we knew we had to include them in every step of the process. A new system was collaboratively developed and regularly tested with real-time simulated data. Evaluations were done in the Arlanda control tower to check readability, colors, whether touchscreens would work or not, and how well the new user interface works with the other systems. By layering information based on importance we reduced clutter by 2/3. Predefined, carefully selected functions add fast ways to plan or add events like snow sweeping and departure frequency. Any manual change automatically reschedules upcoming departures or moves the traffic to alternate runways and communicates this to the airline handling agents, pilots and other personnel.
The result is a new type of intelligent system that allows airplanes to drive straight from their parking spots to the runway for take-off, eliminating long taxi lines. Error margins have decreased from 10 to 5 minutes when making departure prognoses, which helps to streamline the efficiency of international flights. A one-minute reduction of engine time per aircraft will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 2 million tons a year, and comfort for passengers has increased because of a significantly shortened time between boarding and take-off.
- Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:
We believe this is a great example of a practical professional implementation of user experience design that optimizes workflow and benefits a wide range of stakeholders, from businesses to the environment. Thanks to a close collaboration with the users we were able to create a system that is easy for them to learn, and happily adopted into their workflow, despite them being initially reluctant to change. We gained their trust by involving them and pushing them forward throughout the process. Why do you want to see this particular information? Who do you talk to when this happens? Do you stand or sit when you act on that? As we started to uncover more of their latent needs, they quickly realized the benefits of our approach. This way of working is an integral part of Veryday’s 46-year legacy of people-driven innovation and the result is an entirely new type of intelligent system that has exceeded user expectations by far.
The departure system is currently implemented and used around the clock at Arlanda. The results go way beyond the original brief of improving departure time precision, as requested by the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation. The system takes pressure off the air traffic controllers and has reduced their workload by automating certain carefully selected functions. It has become much simpler for the users to make accurate departure time prognoses, with error margins decreasing from 10 to 5 minutes, which helps to streamline the efficiency of international flights. A one-minute reduction of engine time per aircraft will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 2 million tons a year and comfort for passengers has increased as waiting time between boarding and take-off has been cut in half. This shows how collaboration with users results in new systems that do not only improve workflow, but that improve quality of life in several areas.
- Submitted By: Veryday
- Client Name: Ecru