The National Academies

ACRP 01-27 [Completed]

NextGen––A Primer

  Project Data
Funds: $750,000
Research Agency: Logistics Management Institute
Principal Investigator: Robert Hemm
Effective Date: 6/16/2014
Completion Date: 1/31/2017


The Next Generation Air Transportation System (“NextGen”) is a term used to describe a pervasive and critical component of the future of the National Airspace System (NAS). This project is part of an ACRP NextGen initiative, comprised of five distinct projects, which will be conducted simultaneously. ACRP will be coordinating and sharing scope, ideas, and preliminary results among all five projects. The initial titles of ACRP projects included in the ACRP NextGen initiative are as follows:
  • ACRP 01-27, NextGen—A Primer
  • ACRP 01-28, NextGen—Guidance for Engaging the Airport Community
  • ACRP 03-33, NextGen—Airport Planning
  • ACRP 03-34, NextGen—Understanding Optimal-Efficient Procedure Changes for Aircraft and Airspace
  • ACRP 09-12, NextGen—Information Sharing and Geographic Information Systems Workshop
The term NextGen has been applied to enterprises usually pertaining to any method or technology that is expected or intended to supersede present day techniques. For the ACRP NextGen initiative, a focused definition is desired. So, the term “NextGen” shall refer to a number of federal programs (predominately airspace, air traffic, or avionics related) that are designed to modernize the NAS. Aspects of some of these programs or the enabling practices, data, and technologies resulting from them will affect airports and change how they operate.
Some of the known or anticipated airport-relevant effects that are expected from NextGen include:
  • Efficiency – aircraft fuel savings, airspace utilization, landside operations and performance, airside operations and maintenance.
  • Environment – emissions reductions, noise distribution.
  • Safety – situational/proximity awareness, incident recovery.
  • Reliability – consistency in practice, international aircraft procedure/avionics standardization, improved access to airports.
  • Planning/design – customer service, facility utilization, demands for infrastructure.
Because of the technical nature of NextGen and the fact that much of the material heretofore produced about NextGen is or was geared to a small cadre of industry experts, and not to airport leadership, much about NextGen and the ways it will change airport operations and planning may be unclear to the broader airport audience or has not yet received sufficient attention.


The objectives of this research were to develop (1) a resource guide for airport practitioners; (2) a primer for airport decision makers; and (3) a public information toolkit that can be used by airport operators to communicate high-level, universal facts about NextGen and airports to local pilots, community members, local leaders, and the flying-public.

This report has been published as ACRP Report 150, Volume 3, NextGen for Airports: Resources for Airports, and is available for download from the TRB website.

The contractor has also been tasked with summarizing research results from the five NextGen volumes in the Report 150 series and developing it into web-based content that guides airport practitioners and consultants to topics of interest from the results.

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