When it Comes to Speed Control, Public Transit Mobile WiFi Can Help

El Train Leaving StationShocking train crashes have occurred all over the world in recent months. From New York to Spain, investigators are digging into why trains have derailed, and how to change operations to prevent future collisions. Oftentimes, excessive speed on curves is found to be the root cause of train crashes. Positive Train Control (PTC) could prevent such speed-induced crashes. Let’s take a look at what PTC is, and how private and public transit mobile WiFi solutions could facilitate its implementation across American rail systems.

PTC is a way of tracking trains’ speed and location so as to prevent accidents. PTC systems monitor trains’ current speed according to set targets, such as mandatory breaking curves. WiFi and GPS allow PTC systems to automatically slow down or stop the train when drivers fail to follow speed guidelines. Think of PTC as an autopilot system for trains.

Since 1990, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has listed PTC as a most wanted safety improvement, but legislation requiring PTC wasn’t passed until the tail end of the second Bush administration. In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which requires most U.S. rail networks to have PTC technology in place by December 15, 2015.

Given the cost and logistical difficulty of installing PTC, many train agencies have sought exemptions from the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. However, the fatal December 2013 Metro-North derailment that killed four and injured 75 passengers is making it unlikely that Congress will pass an extension on the 2015 PTC deadline. In that crash, the train was running at 82 miles per hour going into a 30-mph curve just before it ran off the tracks. Transportation authorities argue PTC technology could have prevented the crash—and the loss of life it caused.

Fortunately, mobile WiFi technology is catching up to PTC requirements. Our private and public transit WiFi solutions can connect trains to stations and PTC. Train WiFi can protect passengers while simultaneously improving the riding experience. Our WiFi In Motion system can provide front- and back-end connectivity. Passengers can enjoy 4G LTE service while your whole system steps up to PTC regulation compliance. Worried about the price tag? We can help. Our SingleREV advertising program puts ads in front of customers to offset operation and installation costs. With private and public transit WiFi becoming the norm across the globe, and with transportation regulators demanding new interconnected safety systems, installing WiFi for train transport is the right way to go.

[Photo by Bill Ward’s Brickpile via CC License]