Jasenka Rakas

Continuing Lecturer
Research Interests
Availability & reliability of communications, Navigation & surveillance systems, Airport systems planning & design, Airport & airspace capacity and delay analysis, Systems modeling & performance analysis, National Airspace System (NAS) infrastructure performance and investment analysis, Air traffic flow management

107B McLaughlin Hall

Office Hours
Rakas headshot

Jasenka Rakas is a Continuing Lecturer of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. She is also the Deputy Director of the UC Berkeley National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research (NEXTOR). Rakas pioneered methods and models for analyzing the impact of navigational equipment outages on airspace performance and has also conducted pioneering work in the area of controller-pilot communications. Her contributions to the research area of airport operations and planning are also significant, where she is best known for using high-fidelity data to create new arrival headway distributions. She is the author or co-author of more than 100 publications that include archival journals, conference papers, and technical reports and has participated in over 200 high-level presentations and worldwide discussions through conferences, symposia, workshops, panels, talks, or conference session chairmanships. 


Postdoctoral, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland 

M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland

Dipl.Ing., Air Transportation Engineering, University of Belgrade


Rakas’ research focuses on National Airspace System (NAS) infrastructure performance and investment analysis, air traffic flow management, cost/benefit analysis, simulation modeling and analysis, human factors, and cognitive psychology. Some of the areas she explores in her research include aviation infrastructure systems performance and modernization, integration of new aviation technologies, service availability, capacity and effectiveness of airports and air traffic control systems, and cost-effective modernization. By developing mathematical and statistical models, Rakas aims to address the NAS's gradual transformation into the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). While exploring the operational benefits of integrating new aviation technologies, she also explores workload and cognitive issues as they relate to air traffic controllers and pilots. Here are a few of the research projects Rakas is currently working on below:

  • Environmental Performance Assessment in Enhancing the Sustainability of Airport Developments - Civil aviation has an increasingly important role in the social and economic developments of cities and regions. Airports connect regions to the rest of the World and symbolize their integration in a global market. As major transport infrastructure facilities, they are significant sources of pollution and a major concentration of energy usage. They are also cultural, social, economic, and commercial points of exchange. The purpose of this research is to develop a framework for assessing and benchmarking the sustainability of airport systems. Environmental benchmarking is an important tool to measure an airport's performance and ensure that it is on track when it comes to environmental excellence. The results can assist airport managers in sharing successful initiatives in the integration of environmental programs into airport operations.
  • Robust Optimization Models for Aviation Infrastructure Investments - Lightning poses a significant hazard to NAS terminal airspace operations. Lightning strikes can disable key NAS equipment and reduce airport capacity. In response, an infrastructure investment model is formulated specifically to make terminal airspace performance more robust against lightning strikes. This investment model includes several new contributions to the aviation literature. The first is to model airport capacity and traffic management as a network utility maximization problem. The rich literature on network utility maximization and traffic management, highly developed in the context of wireless networks, shares many parallels with airport operations. The second contribution is to incorporate a second-degree stochastic dominance constraint into a convex optimization problem. 
  • Impacts of a Mixed Media Air Traffic Control Communication Environment on Aviation Efficiency - More traffic and less available radio frequency time translate to a higher workload for a sector's controller. When controllers encounter potential conflicts during a period of high workload, greater distances may be assigned to ensure separation, or controllers may, due to workload, be unable to re-vector aircraft as quickly as they would during periods of lesser workload. The introduction of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) has the potential to decrease controller workload through the introduction of data communications enhancements. These data communications enhancements will remove selected pilot-controller communications from the voice frequencies to a text-based data transfer environment known as datalink. This study is a response to capacity constraints in the National Airspace System (NAS), and in particular, to the use of radio frequencies associated with en route sectors. 


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