Posted by Federal Railroad Administration
It’s no secret that safety is one of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) top priorities. At the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), one of our top safety initiatives is the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC is a communication-based system designed to prevent train-to train collisions, over-speed derailments, intrusion into established work zones, and trains routed to the wrong tracks due to a switch error. Here’s how it works: Let’s say a train operator fails to react to a potentially catastrophic situation, like a train-to-train collision. PTC systems will automatically detect the impending collision and take appropriate action to safely stop the train.
Because of USDOT’s commitment to safety, specifically the railroad industry in this case, the FRA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are pleased to announce the PTC grantees selected to receive $197 million in funding.
Twenty-seven applications, totaling $455 million, were submitted to FRA requesting funding to help commuter and intercity passenger railroads meet the December 2018 PTC implementation deadline. Of those 27 applications, FRA identified 17 projects to receive the funds. The FTA will award and administer the funds during fiscal year 2017. In 2016, a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) was issued and made $197.01 million available for grants; $2 million was reserved for program oversight.
The number of passengers depending on rail has increased dramatically, which means PTC is needed now more than ever. This funding will get us closer to PTC implementation on some of the most significant railroads in the country that transport several million passengers to and from work every day.
Since 2008, FRA has committed its efforts to help railroads implement PTC systems. Those efforts include providing substantial monetary support in grants, and dedicating more staff to review PTC implementation and safety plans.
Below is a chart depicting when each railroad plans to achieve full PTC system implementation: