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Factor interaction influences on human performance in air traffic control: The need for a multifactorial model


In air traffic management (ATM) knowledge of the impact of human factors on performance is critical to address safety incidents. Previous research has largely focused on the effects of single factors on performance which has resulted in a comprehensive understanding of single factor effects. In current control environments however, the residual threats for incidents often result from the interaction of multiple human factors and the resulting cumulative impact on performance. This research uses a literature review, an analysis of over 400 European aviation incident reports and finally a survey of ATM professionals to assess the need for a multifactorial model of performance. Literature findings suggest that Human Factors approaches are fundamentally single-factor in nature, which is out of step with real ATM working contexts. An incident report analysis, supported by a survey of air traffic experts, suggests that multiple factor incident causation exists. This discrepancy suggests the need for a new approach to looking at how incidents occur, and their factors managed, on a day-to-day basis. The proposed solution is a multifactorial model of human performance.