Moving Toward an Air Traffic Control Display Standard: Creating a Standardized Target Symbology for Terminal Situation Displays

In this study, the authors applied human factors best practices to the design of an enhanced target symbol set for terminal displays. To design new symbols, the authors first identified types of information that would be most operationally useful. Four types of information were selected that would provide the greatest operational benefits and tactical support for the controllers. These included aircraft category (Small, Large, Heavy, and Super Heavy), aircraft heading, aircraft altitude, and aircraft conformance to its assigned route or altitude. To evaluate the effectiveness of the symbols, search, sorting, and selection tasks were used that measured symbol preference, reaction time, and symbol identification. The results indicated that the controllers used consistent heuristics for categorizing symbols into different size and conformance categories. For both the heading and category coding, the authors also found benefits in terms of both increased accuracy and decreased reaction times. No benefits were found for the altitude coding. By using meaningful symbols to convey relevant tactical information, such as aircraft category and heading, both visual search speed and target detection accuracy are increased. On the basis of these findings, the authors propose a set of symbols and provide recommendations for creating standardized symbology for terminal situation displays and other safety critical systems.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Technical Note
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 72p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01526344
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT/FAA/TC-TN-10/04
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: May 28 2014 3:26PM