Positive train control (PTC) is a set of highly advanced technologies designed to automatically stop or slow a train before certain types of accidents occur. Specifically, PTC, as mandated by Congress in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), must be designed to prevent:
Derailments caused by excessive speed
Unauthorized incursions by trains onto sections of track where maintenance activities are taking place
Movement of a train through a track switch left in the wrong position
PTC is an unprecedented technical and operational challenge. Since enactment of RSIA, railroads have devoted enormous human and financial resources to develop a fully functioning PTC system over the 60,000 miles that are subject to the PTC mandate. Progress to date has been substantial. Railroads have retained more than 2,400 signal system personnel to implement PTC and has already spent $5 billion on PTC development and deployment. Railroads expect to spend more than $9 billion before development and installation is complete.