Volpe Center Highlights
Economic Growth and Trade
Advance America's economic growth and competitiveness domestically and internationally through efficient and flexible transportation.
Information Technology in Support of Transportation (OST)
In support of Mr. Noah Rifkin, the Department's Director of Technology Deployment, the Volpe Center's Office of Transportation Strategic Planning and Analysis recently prepared a background paper for the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Transportation Committee, which is chaired by Deputy Secretary Downey. The paper focuses on R&D's role in fostering the introduction of information technologies into transportation. The paper builds on prior efforts of the NSTC subcommittees in such transportation areas as physical infrastructure and system assessment. It focuses attention on broad topics that cut across transportation modes, markets, and specific applications. Examples include institutional structures and relationships, next-generation positioning and navigation requirements, and spectrum requirements and allocation. The draft paper will assist the NTSC in defining and implementing its 1996 agenda.
Ceremony Marking Initial Operating Capability of Differential GPS (USCGC)
The U.S. Coast Guard recently met its goal to reach initial operational capability for the marine radiobeacon differential GPS (DGPS) system. The event was celebrated on January 30 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the Coast Guard's Telecommunications and Information Systems Command drill facility in Alexandria, VA. Secretary Pentilde;a and Admiral Robert E. Kramek, Commandant of the Coast Guard, presided over the ceremony. Mr. Mike Moroney, Chief of the Center for Navigation, represented the Volpe Center, which also provided technical support illustrating applications employing differential GPS for buoy placement, as well as vehicle and vessel tracking. In addition, the Center presented a graphical display of techniques to evaluate the integrity of GPS signals for use in the approach phase of air navigation.
International Telecommunications Data Base (FAA)
The Center provides broad-based support to a number of programs directed by the FAA National Airspace System Operations Telecommunications Support and International Communications Division. Included in this extensive on-going effort is participation in several international air traffic communications projects in the Asia-Pacific, Caribbean, and Central and South American regions. The Center recently completed development of an International Circuits Database for operational use by the FAA. The system features an integrated database/graphics package providing user friendly features including "point and click" graphics in a Microsoft Windows environment. FAA users of the system will be able to obtain detailed "end-to-end" descriptions and diagrams of international telecommunications circuits by geographic location, and derive circuit numbers and costs, points-of-contact at each facility, and other highly useful operational data.
Traffic Management Briefing to NATO Representatives
On January 31, the Volpe Center hosted a briefing to representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the operation of the Traffic Management System (TMS). Ten NATO countries were represented at the briefing, which covered the current TMS system as developed by the Volpe Center for the FAA, and planned enhancements and potential expansion to world-wide coverage through satellite communications. The NATO representatives were in the Boston area under the sponsorship of Lt. Col. Charles Houston, Chairman of the Approach and Landing System Working Group of the Air Force.
Delivery of Report on Aviation Registration Data Management (FAA)
The Center's Aviation Safety Division recently delivered a final report to the FAA's Civil Aviation Registry on the testing of image tapes, which are being used to store images of the millions of actual Registry documents. The report documents results of tests on special tape used to store the images. The Center, which performed the test on 214 samples from the Registry's backfile conversion program, evaluated the tapes because of persistent upload problems, leading to a nearly 50 percent upload failure rate. Each tape contains an average of 7,000 document images recorded in electronic compressed format and accompanying indices. The tapes will be used to upload the Registry's future Electronic Document Management System now in procurement. The Registry anticipates receiving over 16,000 tapes before the end of the conversion contract and tape reliability is essential for an efficient and cost effective upload of the final system. As a result of the testing, remedies have been put in place, including upgrades to the conversion labeling process and replacement of low quality tapes, which have reduced the overall rejection rates to under 5 percent.