Positive Train Control (PTC) was mandated by Congress in 2008 to be installed on an extensive network of rail carriers within the United States before the end of 2015. As such, the short time frame for implementation has dictated that several key features that could be adopted within the train control area not be considered until the base development is finished. One of the areas that has been pushed off until later is the interface to Highway crossings. This is being explored in part by Caltrain in their Communications Based Overlay Signal System (CBOSS) project that adapts Incremental Train Control System (ITCS) protocols; however this approach does not undertake the full replacement of existing technology.
This paper investigates the concept of operations for PTC controlled highway crossings with the premise that the existing train detection technology will be fully replaced by PTC and its train detection system. This will allow for much reduced hardware in the field while potentially adding additional functionality. Detailed analysis of the safety case will be introduced and interface logic will be included. Additional functions such as prediction, preemption, near side control and switching scenarios will be included in the research for both freight and passenger operations and how these situations can be addressed with available PTC technology.