Microprocessor Signal and Train Control: A New Regulatory Approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - performance, planning - safety/accidents, organisation - performance, organisation - regulation, mode - rail


Train control, Regulations, Railroad signals, Railroad safety, Performance based regulations, Paradigm shift, Microprocessors, Impact studies, Automatic train control


In February 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a set of new regulations governing the development and use of microprocessor-based signal and train control systems. The new rule represented a major paradigm shift from prescriptive to performance-based regulation. This paper addresses the rationale for that paradigm switch, highlights the key points of the rule that go into the safety case, and discusses the impact of the new regulatory approach on the rail industry.