Skift Take

Universal systems that solve all problems are attractive in theory, but implementation is difficult, especially when you're dealing with multiple different operators, a hundred thousand miles of track, and political infighting.

Positive Train Control (PTC) is a system designed to make trains safer and better organized. It uses GPS to take over controls from the engineer if he inadvertently loses control or finds himself heading in the direction of another train; it also makes sure trains are running when and where they’re supposed to. Ideally, dispatchers in centralized locations all over the country already take care of those tasks — but they’ve got a lot of trains to manage and a lot of miles to cover, so, in theory, PTC will help those dispatchers do their jobs better and more efficiently.

It also might make their jobs redundant, but that’s just one potential problem among many.


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Tags: safety

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