Emergent Behaviour

HAP Blom, M.H.C. Everdij, S Bouarfa

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In complexity science a property or behaviour of a system is called emergent if it is not a property or behaviour of the constituting elements of the system, though results from the interactions between its constituting elements. In the socio-technical air transportation system these interactions are between human operators, technical systems and procedures, at airlines, airports and air traffic centres. Safety is a clear example of an emergent property of the complex socio-technical air transportation system: it is not a property of any constituting element, though results from the interactions between the constituting elements. Safety as well as other emergent properties and behaviours of the current air transportation system are results from decades of evolutionary development and improvement. For example, each commerical aviation accident is well investigated, the findings of which often leads to various kinds of improvements regarding elements of the air transportation system. Aviation statistics show that the factual result has been a steady increase of air traffic in combination with a steady improvement of safety, e.g. (Roelen & Blom, 2013). Therefore, one may conclude: current aviation works thanks to the implicit use of emergent behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComplexity science in air traffic management
EditorsA Cook, D Rivas
ISBN (Electronic)9781315573205
ISBN (Print)978-1-4724-6037-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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