Action in Land Transportation Standards

11 June, 2019 | Member Updates
Article by Gary Touryan, Vice President Land Transportation

The Land Transportation Division of VTS manages the development of (US and Canadian) standards for rail passenger vehicles, trains and systems, automatic train control, and electrical power distribution systems.

This work is accomplished through the Rail Transportation Standards Committee (RTSC), which consists of two subcommittees and several working groups: the Overhead Contact Systems (OCS) Subcommittee and the Traction Power Substations Standards Subcommittee (TPSSC), and two main Working Groups (WG): CBTC/Signals and Railcar/Crossover.

Both Subcommittees were established in 2002, and have actively produced standards since their inception. More importantly, they maintain the published standards to ensure that they continue to be useful in industry applications, and that they do not expire after ten years.

The standards developed are consensus-based, and are intended to improve and supplement existing standards, or cover new areas useful to the Transit and Rail industry. The Subcommittees’ work relies on a core of volunteers, namely the Chairs and Vice-chairs of the Working Groups.

This core group of professionals consists of representatives from broad areas in our industry: agencies, consultants, vendors, manufacturers, and suppliers. The Subcommittees coordinate with APTA and AREMA, and within IEEE, provide up-to-date information on professional activities of interest to rail and transit industry, and make suggestions and recommendations that may improve industry practices.

The first OCS meeting of the year was held 19–20 February 2019 in San Diego, California, and hosted by San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. The summer meeting will be in Toronto, to be held in conjunction with the APTA Rail Conference on 26 June 2019.

The TPSSC spring meeting occurred on 21–22 May 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was hosted by Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. The TPSSC fall meeting will be 23–24 October 2019, to be hosted by New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. To participate, please contact me; for more information visit the TPSSC website.

The Land Transportation Division led the effort to revitalize the RTSC website. The website is an effective platform to highlight the work being done by RTSC and encourage professionals to join VTS.

The Land Transportation Division is active in Joint Rail Conference (JRC), the only academic rail conference in North America. JRC 2019 was held in Snow Bird, Utah, USA, 9–12 April 2019. IEEE had been a sponsor of JRC for the last 98 years. We are looking forward to continuing our participation in JRC 2020.


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