In the wake of the May 2015 Philadelphia train accident, many discussions have ensued as to whether automatic safety technology could have prevented the accident and saved lives. The crash was caused by a train travelling at over twice the speed limit for a section of track and although the engineer applied the emergency brake, the train still derailed. It is strongly suggested that if both the train and section of track had a PTC system installed and active, the train would have been automatically slowed and the derailment averted.
Positive Train Control (PTC) was mandated by the United States congress in the Railway Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA). The intent of PTC is to increase the safety of railroad transportation of passengers, hazardous materials and to increase the safety of railway workers.
The locomotive components have some very strict real-time and safety requirements that enable them to collect and process information on a moving vehicle. These requirements have some noteworthy similarities with airborne systems which need to be certified to the highest levels of safety standards before they can be deployed. For this reason, there is a natural fit for using an avionics safety-certified real-time operating system in PTC applications.
LynxOS-178 is a perfect fit for PTC applications because of its hard real-time performance and determinism, conformance to open standards like POSIX for interoperability, its avionics certification pedigree, and other factors.