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Developing mathematical theories of the physical world: Open Access research on fluid dynamics from Strathclyde

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Further development of a causal model for air transport safety (CATS) : building the mathematical heart

Ale, Ben JM and Bellamy, L.J. and Van der Boom, R and Cooper, J and Cooke, Roger M and Goossens, Louis HJ and Hale, AR and Kurowicka, Dorota and Morales, O and Roelen, ALC and Spouge, John (2009) Further development of a causal model for air transport safety (CATS) : building the mathematical heart. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 94 (9). pp. 1433-1441.

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The development of the Netherlands international airport Schiphol has been the subject of fierce political debate for several decades. One of the considerations has been the safety of the population living around the airport, the density of which has been and still is growing. In the debate about the acceptability of the risks associated with the air traffic above, The Netherlands extensive use has been made of statistical models relating the movement of airplanes to the risks on the ground. Although these models are adequate for the debate and for physical planning around the airport, the need has arisen to gain a more thorough understanding of the accident genesis in air traffic, with the ultimate aim of improving the safety situation in air traffic in general and around Schiphol in particular. To this aim, a research effort has started to develop causal models for air traffic risks in the expectation that these will ultimately give the insight needed. The concept was described in an earlier paper. In this paper, the backbone of the model and the way event sequence diagrams, fault-trees and Bayesian belief nets are linked to form a homogeneous mathematical model suitable as a tool to analyse causal chains and quantify risks is described.