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A cost evaluation of alternative air traffic control (ATC) concepts for the 1980-2000 time period that differ in the basing of the signal receiver (space or ground), date of initial operational capability, level of automation, structure (centralized or disbursed), and total system cost. A centralized, satellite-oriented system, a decentralized, radar-oriented system, and the FAA Ten-Year Plan (1973-1982) are compared in detail to determine areas of greatest cost uncertainty and cost impact. Using a cost model to examine research and development, facilities and equipment, and operation and maintenance time-phased costs, it is found that the greatest cost uncertainty and impact come from air traffic controller productivity levels, with or without automation. It is concluded that an automated ATC system should be introduced as soon as is technologically possible. (See also R-1320.)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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