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Journal of Advanced Transportation





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In order to address the flight delays and risks associated with the forecasted increase in air traffic, there is a need to increase the capacity of air traffic management systems. This should be based on objective measurements of traffic situation complexity. In current air traffic complexity research, no simple means is available to integrate airspace and traffic flow characteristics. In this paper, we propose a new approach for the measurement of air traffic situation complexity. This approach considers the effects of both airspace and traffic flow and objectively quantifies air traffic situation complexity. Considering the aircraft, waypoints, and airways as nodes, and the complexity relationships among these nodes as edges, a dynamic weighted network is constructed. Air traffic situation complexity is defined as the sum of the weights of all edges in the network, and the relationships of complexity with some commonly used indices are statistically analyzed. The results indicate that the new complexity index is more accurate than traffic count and reflects the number of trajectory changes as well as the high-risk situations. Additionally, analysis of potential applications reveals that this new index contributes to achieving complexity-based management, which represents an efficient method for increasing airspace system capacity.