Characterization and prediction of air traffic delays

This paper presents a new class of models for predicting air traffic delays. The proposed models consider both temporal and spatial (that is, network) delay states as explanatory variables, and use Random Forest algorithms to predict departure delays 2–24 h in the future. In addition to local delay variables that describe the arrival or departure delay states of the most influential airports and links (origin–destination pairs) in the network, new network delay variables that characterize the global delay state of the entire National Airspace System at the time of prediction are proposed. The paper analyzes the performance of the proposed prediction models in both classifying delays as above or below a certain threshold, as well as predicting delay values. The models are trained and validated on operational data from 2007 and 2008, and are evaluated using the 100 most-delayed links in the system. The results show that for a 2-h forecast horizon, the average test error over these 100 links is 19% when classifying delays as above or below 60 min. Similarly, the average over these 100 links of the median test error is found to be 21 min when predicting departure delays for a 2-h forecast horizon. The effects of changes in the classification threshold and forecast horizon on prediction performance are studied.


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  • Accession Number: 01535026
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 17 2014 3:10PM