IEEE 802.15 WPAN™

Positive Train Control Interest Group (IGptc)




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The US Congress in 2008 mandated the deployment of Positive Train Control (PTC) systems: advanced, wired- and wireless-networked communications systems to prevent train-to-train collisions, enforce train speed restrictions, and provide safety for road and railway workers.

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. It is this component upon which the Interest Group shall focus.

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 PTC. This Interest Group will review the work that has been done and propose a path to development of a future standard for the wireless data link element. Efforts are being made to coordinate with IEEE VTS and to invite participation from the broad rail transportation communications industry.

Current Status

The IEEE 802.15 PTC Interest Group is preparing a Call for Contributions document and we are soliciting, and hearing, contributions that address numerous PTC aspects. Over the next month, it will be important to identify the similarities and the differences that exists between our goals and those of in-process and completed standards or amendments. It is our desire to ask for Study Group status at the upcoming Atlanta Plenary in November 2011 and complete the PAR and 5 Criteria documents in the Study Group phase. The plan is to move to a full-fledged Task Group by the following Plenary at Jacksonville FL in March 2012.

How to participate

Participate by attending our telecons. Our first telecon will be on 13 October (US) and then continuing weekly up to the Atlanta plenary. The time and date for the next meeting will always be sent out at least 7 days in advance. The conference number and access codes will be sent out on the reflector at least 24 hours before the meeting time, with more detailed agenda attached.

IEEE 802.15 PTC Interest Group conducts their discussions on the STDS-802-15-PTC Public Mailing List. You can learn how to subscribe to the 802.15.4 PTC reflector by pointing your browser here.


We are in the process of collecting publicly available documents that may 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 template. 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!

Who to contact with questions

  • Interim Chairman: Jon Adams
  • Vice Chairman: TBD
  • Secretary: TBD

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

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