Positive Train Control: As Implementation Progresses, Focus Turns to the Complexities of Achieving System Interoperability

Forty-two railroads are currently subject to the statutory mandate to implement positive train control (PTC), a communications-based system designed to automatically slow or stop a train that is not being operated safely. Railroads were required to implement PTC by December 31, 2018, but would receive extensions up to December 31, 2020, if specific statutory requirements were met. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review railroads' PTC implementation progress. This statement by Susan Fleming, Director, Physical Infrastructure, discusses (1) railroads' implementation progress and any related implementation challenges and (2) the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA’s) plans for overseeing railroads’ implementation. GAO analyzed railroads' most recent quarterly reports covering activities through March 31, 2019; received responses from all 42 railroads on a brief questionnaire; and interviewed officials from FRA and 8 railroads, selected to include variation in implementation status and type of railroad, among other criteria. In March 2018, GAO recommended FRA take steps to systematically communicate information to railroads and to use a risk-based approach to prioritize agency resources and workload. FRA concurred with these recommendations. FRA has taken actions to systematically communicate information to railroads. GAO will continue to monitor FRA actions with regard to allocating agency resources to oversee PTC. View GAO-19-693T


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 23p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01713715
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-19-693T
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 2019 2:23PM