Positive Train Control: Additional Authorities Could Benefit Implementation

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To install positive train control (PTC)--a communications-based system designed to prevent certain types of train accidents caused by human factors-- almost all railroads are overlaying their existing infrastructure with PTC components; nonetheless, most railroads report they will miss the December 31, 2015, implementation deadline. Both the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have reported that most railroads will not have PTC fully implemented by the deadline. Of the four major freight railroads included in GAO's review, only one expects to meet ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. August 16, 2013.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To install positive train control (PTC)--a communications-based system designed to prevent certain types of train accidents caused by human factors-- almost all railroads are overlaying their existing infrastructure with PTC components; nonetheless, most railroads report they will miss the December 31, 2015, implementation deadline. Both the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have reported that most railroads will not have PTC fully implemented by the deadline. Of the four major freight railroads included in GAO's review, only one expects to meet the 2015 deadline. The other three freight railroads report that they expect to have PTC implemented by 2017 or later. Commuter railroads generally must wait until freight railroads and Amtrak equip the rail lines they operate on, and most of the seven commuter railroads included in this review reported that they do not expect to meet the 2015 deadline. To implement PTC systems that meet the requirements of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), railroads are developing more than 20 major components that are currently in various stages of development, integrating them, and installing them across the rail network. AAR recently reported that by the end of 2012, railroads had spent $2.8 billion on PTC implementation. To implement PTC, AAR estimates that freight railroads will spend approximately $8 billion in total while the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) estimates that commuter railroads will spend a minimum of $2 billion. Much of the work to implement PTC remains to be done. For example, AAR reported that as of the end of 2012, about a third of wayside interface units, which are needed to communicate data, had been installed and that less than 1 percent of locomotives needing upgrades had been fully equipped."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • August 16, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Positive Train Control: Additional Authorities Could Benefit Implementation, report, August 16, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301602/: accessed June 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.