Critical Wireless Technology for Positive Train Control
From passenger to freight trains, today’s railroad systems increasingly rely on extensive communications networks to facilitate performance and improve safety. One of the latest advancements in rail technology is Positive Train Control (PTC), which integrates command, communications, and information systems for controlling train movements with security, precision, and efficiency. CalAmp is playing a key role in helping the industry meet PTC objectives through the development of critical wireless technology.
PTC focuses on these key areas:
- Train separation or collision avoidance
- Line speed enforcement
- Temporary speed restrictions
- Rail worker wayside safety
These key areas are managed by assessing occupancy and speed limits, monitoring and controlling wayside systems, and exchanging instructions and messages between trains. A PTC system can track the location and speed of a train more accurately than was previously possible. Typical PTC systems will include speed display and control units on the train and communications equipment to inform the control unit of changing track or signal conditions. Other components include a navigation system and track profile database to enforce fixed speed limits, a bidirectional data link to inform signaling equipment of the train's presence, and a centralized system to directly issue movement authorities to trains.
By providing better tracking of train location and speed through robust wireless networks, PTC increases operational efficiency, allows higher track capacity, enhances crew safety, and results in a safer environment for personnel working on the track.