On the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website, a runway incursion is defined as “any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle, or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and takeoff of aircraft.” These occurrences, which include wrong runway landings and takeoffs, remain a top airport safety concern for the FAA. Research has shown that airport geometry can contribute to runway incursions. The FAA has provided airports with guidance on recommended taxiway layouts in both Advisory Circular 150/5300-13 and Engineering Brief Number 75. Airport layouts that do not conform to these recommendations can lead to pilot confusion and ultimately, runway incursions. The FAA launched the Runway Incursion Mitigation (RIM) program in fiscal year 2015 (FY15) in an effort to mitigate the nonstandard geometry factors present at airport locations that have experienced a high number of runway incursions.
The FAA maintains a RIM program database that is updated on an annual basis, which includes all towered airports. During each annual update, all runway incursions and surface incidents (pilot deviation (PD) and vehicle/pedestrian deviation (V/PD)) from the previous calendar year, including wrong surface landings and takeoffs, are georeferenced in the geographic information system database. The layout of each airport is also reviewed annually to determine if locations with previously identified nonstandard geometry characteristics have been changed and/or mitigated. Locations with new nonstandard geometry characteristics are identified as well. If a location has three or more runway incursions in a single calendar year or an average of one runway incursion per year since the program began, it is considered for inclusion in the RIM inventory.
Since the RIM program was initiated in FY15, a total of 4767 runway incursions (PD and V/PD) and 219 nonstandard geometry locations have been added to the database. At the end of FY18, there were 135 locations in the RIM inventory at 79 airports and 33 locations mitigated since the program’s inception. Airports utilized a variety of mitigation strategies to eliminate the problematic geometry characteristics or reduce their effect at these locations. Mitigation strategies include modifications to airport geometry, changes to lighting, markings, or signage, or changes to procedures or operations.
Authors: Vitagliano, Lauren; Debban, Steven; Healey, Joseph