TRM objectives are defined as: Strategies for the best use of all available resources - people, equipment and information to optimise the safety and efficiency of Air Traffic Services operations.
The development of the TRM concepts was based on the following principles:
- Joint development by operational staff and human factors experts
- Linked to human factors incident and accident investigations
- The operational staff know their working environment in detail, and where the safety weaknesses exist
- Methods based on best practice from airline Crew Resource Management (CRM).
TRM is a safety management intervention that protects ATM systems from a common cause of system failure. The main objective of TRM is to reduce or minimise the impact of teamwork related errors within the ATM system.
Over the last 20 years, airlines have been very successful in promoting the ideas of enhanced team working practices. Nearly every airline around the world applies the principles of Crew Resource Management (CRM) for pilots and other operational airline staff. Regulators like the JAA have made the regular training compulsory. This raised the question of whether a comparable concept for operational staff would benefit the ATS/ATM system.
In July 1994, a Study Group was created by a small number of European ANSPs, to investigate the possible benefits of and requirements for a Team Resources Management (TRM) programme. Within its scope the TRM Study Group carried out the following activities:
- A literature survey concerning relevant CRM/TRM publications (Eissfeldt, 1994)
- A teamwork related ATC incident survey
- A questionnaire survey to determine the attitude of controllers to teamwork in ATC
- A TRM training survey to identify current team training activities in the ECAC states.
The results of these studies clearly indicated that failures in teamwork function contribute to incidents and often have a negative effect on the performance of controllers. This pointed to a definite need for a TRM training programme. In 1995, a European TRM Task Force was initiated in EUROCONTROL to continue and expand the work, culminating in training material, guidelines and promotion
material. The members of the TRM Task Force had operational, educational or human factors background to ensure the relevance and accuracy of the material.
Since 1998, numerous European ANSPs have undertaken TRM training successfully. The training is mainly facilitated by trained operational staff, who guarantee a confidential environment for controllers to decide on safety improvements they can apply in the operational environment.
TRM is becoming increasingly part of the controller culture and EUROCONTROL continues to promote the concepts and material. It has established a TRM Users Group for national TRM co-ordinators and facilitators, improving and developing the material, designing promotion material and discussing the expansion of the TRM concepts to other professional staff such as engineers and etechnicians.
To summarise, the main benefits of TRM are considered to be:
- Reduced number of teamwork related incidents
- Reduced consequences to unavoidable errors
- Enhanced continuity and stability of team work in ATM