Transforming the National Airspace System (NextGen)

In helping address some of the most critical challenges facing the nation today, CAASD is an integral partner with the FAA in developing and implementing the air transportation system of the future.

NextGen—the Next Generation Transportation System—is a wide-ranging transformation of our National Airspace System (NAS). It will meet future demands while improving safety and reducing aviation's environmental impact.

Since its inception, CAASD has played a key role in NextGen's development. Besides the FAA, we work with numerous government agencies, including NASA and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. We also serve as a hub for collaboration with other NAS stakeholders—such as airports, airlines, and air traffic controllers—to ensure consensus on the capabilities and priorities of the new system. Together, we're creating the vision, strategy, operational concepts, architecture, and plans for NextGen's evolution.

We've contributed significantly to the development of technologies and procedures that form the backbone of NextGen. Some of these include:

  • Using digital communications between aircraft and controllers for more accurate and efficient exchange of routing instructions
  • Using satellite-based positioning information to identify more efficient flight paths and improve situational awareness between aircraft

To tackle NextGen's challenges, we use human-centric techniques and advanced simulation and modeling to assess the viability and value of technology and procedure advancements. Our research laboratory includes realistic tower, cockpit, and controller workstation simulators—features that enable us to predict how changing one part of the NAS would affect the whole.

Finally, CAASD works with the FAA to perform systems engineering analyses to ensure that aviation stakeholders can implement NextGen capabilities as soon as possible.

(Video) "Realizing NextGen: MITRE-FAA Partnership at Work" demonstrates the new capabilities that MITRE is developing to transform the national airspace to meet the future demands of air travel. MITRE works hand-in-hand with the FAA to create the Next Generation Air Transportation System known as NextGen.

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Read our fact sheet to learn more about the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development.