Nationwide implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) is underway in the United States. PTC is designed to prevent certain types of train accidents. This paper provides a review of the policy development, operational impact, cost-effectiveness, and critical issues associated with industry-wide PTC implementation. Challenges include interoperability, technological complexity, and limited implementation resources. Emerging critical issues include train operations at restricted speeds, railroad cyber-security risk, broken rail prevention in PTC territories, en route failure of PTC, grade-crossing protection, and opportunities for leveraging PTC-generated big data that require more research from academia, government, and industry.
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