Building on its progress in improving runway safety at U.S. airports over the past 15 years–during which time the agency worked with the aviation community on education, training, marking and lighting, standard runway safety areas, new technology and airfield improvements–the FAA last month kicked off a new national initiative to address one of its top safety priorities. The Runway Incursion Mitigation (RIM) program is intended to identify airport risk factors that might contribute to a runway incursion and develop strategies to help mitigate those risks, according to the agency.
Incursions occur when an aircraft, vehicle or person accidentally enters the protected area of the active runway, potentially conflicting with takeoffs and landings. According to the FAA, on average between three and four incursions occur daily in the U.S., and among the risk factors that contribute to the problem are unclear runway markings and airport signage as well as more complex causes such as runway or taxiway layout. In FY 2014, more than 60 percent of runway incursions involved pilot error and were classified as pilot deviations, the agency noted.
Through the RIM program, the FAA will focus on reducing runway incursions by addressing risks at specific locations at the airport that have a history of runway incursions. The agency has already collected and reviewed data to identify specific airport areas with risk factors that could contribute to a runway incursion. It plans to work with airports to develop strategies to mitigate runway incursions at these locations over the next 10 to 15 years.