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Task Group 15.4p Positive Train Control




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The purpose of the 15.4p Task Group is to establish an amendment to the existing 802.15.4 standard to expand its use for sensor, control and information transfer applications specific to rail and rail transit.

In the United States, the US Congress in 2008 enacted a law to improve rail safety, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which mandates the use of Positive Train Control (PTC) for most rail and rail transit entities. PTC has four primary components
  • Equipment deployed on the locomotive/train
  • Equipment deployed trackside
  • Network access points deployed at or near trackside that are connected to systems operating at a remotely located control center
  • A bi-directional wireless data link that links all these elements. The work of this group is expected to be very applicable to this wireless data link.

The Project Authorization Request (PAR) document was approved by IEEE NesCom in March 2012. The scope of the PAR is broad enough to encourage the use of 15.4 for freight, high-speed passenger rail, commuter and light rail, subway and elevated systems.
Current Status
In its various incarnations, the group has been meeting via near-weekly telecon since October 2012, while growing our membership and bringing in more experts on rail transportation, radio technology, regulation, security and propagation. The participation currently includes around 90 people from over 60 different entities, including US federal regulatory agencies and foreign regulatory entities and academic institutions, US Class 1 freight railroads, Amtrak, major system integrators, OEMs, silicon vendors, test hourse, and industry consultancies.

All presentations and documents are posted on IEEE Mentor. When searching for documents, make sure to look under IGptc and SGptc, as well as 15.4p. The Call for Applications was issued in December 2011 and contributions in response to that document continue to be presented. The effort attained Task Group status as of the beginning of April 2012. The Task Group remains on schedule to establish a baseline proposal by the November 2012 Plenary.
How to participate
Participate by attending our telecons. Our telecons are on Wednesdays approximately every week and are currently scheduled for 0800 Pacific / 0900 Mountain / 1000 Central / 1100 Eastern and 1500 UK / 1600 CET. The draft agenda, conference number and access codes will be sent out on the reflector at least 24 hours before the meeting time. Sign up to the mailing list to get the meeting information.

IEEE 802.15.4p PTC Task Group conducts their discussions on the STDS-802-15-4p Public Mailing List. You can learn how to subscribe to the 802.15.4p PTC reflector by pointing your browser here.
We are in the process of collecting submissions that provide a good overview about the state-of-the-art in PTC efforts globally. Document submittal is simple. If you choose to grow our library of knowledge, please do so using the standard IEEE 802 templates. Please note that submission of copyrighted, confidential or proprietary material is prohibited. Double check for "Confidential" or "Proprietary" boilerplate before you push the "upload" button!
A presentation (IEEE 802.11-11/1032r1) was made at both the IEEE 802.11 WNG and IEEE 802.15 WNG sessions at San Francisco in July 2011, and the establishment of an Interest Group was approved by the IEEE 802.15 WG during that session.

The fit with IEEE 802.15 is excellent; the released standards and in-process work that IEEE 802.15 has done to date have addressed in part many of the requirements for a wireless link for rail transit command and control systems. At the Atlanta Plenary in November 2011, promotion to a full Study Group was approved. The Study Group's task was to draft the PAR and Five Criteria documents, necessary to attain Task Group status. The extablishment of the Task Group 15.4p was completed in March 2012, and the TG is in the midst of technical proposals.

Our group has a liaison with the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society's Rail Transportation Standards Committee. A presentation (15-12-0083-01-0ptc) was made in January 2012 to the Wireless Communications Committee (WCC) of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to inform that group of our work and to encourage participation. Another informative presentation was made at PTC World Congress event in Orlando, FL (USA), in March. Some of our participants also are part of the Joint Council on Transit Wireless Communications. We invite participation from the broad rail transportation communications industry.

Who to contact with questions
  • Chair: Jon Adams (Lilee Systems)
  • Vice Chair: Dr. Alan Rao (US DOT Volpe Center)
  • Secretary: Jon Adams (Lilee Systems)
  • Liaison to IEEE VTS: Jon Adams (Lilee Systems)

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

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