IEEE 802.15 WPAN™

Positive Train Control Study Group (SGptc)




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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 Study Group shall focus.

Current Status

The IEEE 802.15 PTC Study Group has been meeting via a weekly telecon since early October, while growing our membership and bringing in more experts on rail transportation, radio technology, security and propagation. The participation currently includes over 90 people from  around 50 different entities.

All presentations and documents are posted on IEEE Mentor. A Call for Applications was released. The Study Group has completed and gained IEEE 802.15 Working Group approval of the Project Authorization Request (PAR) and Five Criteria (5C) documents. The group remains on schedule to move to a full-fledged Task Group by the May 2012 Interim in Atlanta, GA (USA).

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. The next IEEE 802.15 Plenary is the week of 12-15 March at Waikoloa, HI (USA); until then, our telecon dates will be 29 February and 7 March.

IEEE 802.15 PTC Study Group conducts their discussions on the STDS-802-15-PTC Public Mailing List. You can learn how to subscribe to the 802.15 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 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!


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 operating in spectrum including, but not limited to, the 216-222 MHz band. At the Atlanta Plenary in November 2011, promotion to a full Study Group was approved. This study group will continue to review the work that has been done and propose a path to development of a future standard for the wireless data link element.

A liaison relationship has been established with the Rail Transportation Standards Committee of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society. 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 will be made at the upcoming PTC World Congress event in Orlando, FL (USA), on the 1st of March. We invite participation from the broad rail transportation communications industry.

Who to contact with questions

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

If you would like to contact the IEEE 802.15 Webmaster, email to
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