Research Overview

Airports, as part of international transportation networks, epitomize the notion of a complex socio-technical system characterised by interdependence. Current practices struggle to manage changing contextual factors and contradictory performance criteria like security and passenger facilitation. This project aims to improve the safety, security, efficiency and passenger experience within Australian airports by developing an integrated and adaptive complex systems approach for design, management and operation of complex airports. Outcomes will provide capabilities to identify and manage airport interdependencies, with the goal of improving airport effectiveness and cultivating the flexibility for the sustained growth of airport operations.

This project will enhance the capabilities of Australian airport operators to design and manage complex airport systems. Research outcomes will enable the identification of patterns of behaviour and will provide tools to manage airport effectiveness and balance conflicting security, economic and passenger-driven pressures. Outcomes will improve productivity, enhance capabilities for critical infrastructure protection, and lessen the cost of mandated security, estimated to grow to $152M by 2010 for the five major Australian airports. The deliverables of this project will be transferable to other complex socio-technical systems providing the potential to transform a range of Australian critical infrastructure and transportation hubs.

The research project will comprise seven strongly integrated research programs spanning information, process, people, technology and space domains to adequately cater for the scope and complexity of the problems faced and the multi-disciplinary expertise required to address them.

Research Framework

Complex Systems

  • Bayesian hierarchical models & Decision Networks to model complex systems and interdependencies between their components


  • Context-aware process design in complex systems
  • Collaborative design of reference process models

Business Continuity

  • Impediments of flexible business continuity management
  • Continuity planning in security-concerned complex systems

Building Information Model

  • Platform for complex systems management, visualisation and operational decision support

Security Technology

  • Camera management, multi-view tracking, crowd analysis and activity recognition in security-concerned complex systems

Identity Management

  • Federated identity management and advanced reconciliation processes in security-concerned complex systems

Human Systems

  • Qualitative and quantitative study of the interactions within the actors and with other system components in complex systems