DOT funding issues could stall use of rail safety technology

January 18, 2011

Washington – Installation of train safety technology by passenger and major freight railroads could be delayed if the Department of Transportation does not ensure funding and more technology testing, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Jan. 14.

Positive train control is a communication-based system designed to prevent serious train accidents. Although the Federal Railroad Administration has taken steps to develop PTC regulations, GAO said more needs to be done to monitor railroads' progress and implement use of other technologies, such as those used to test PTC.

Federal law requires passenger and major freight railroads to install PTC on most major routes by the end of 2015. The effort is estimated to cost $2 billion.