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As Norfolk Southern’s Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President Law and Administration, John Scheib straddles the world of railroads and Washington, D.C. He works closely with the company’s technology and operations teams to communicate to the federal government the power of rail technology and how it continues to transform a 200-year-old industry into a modern, technologically advanced powerhouse.

In a recent Q&A with the Association of American Railroads, Scheib asserts that the future of railroads and rail tech is bright — and can be even brighter if the government enacts policies that encourage innovation and empower railroads to develop and deploy new safety- and efficiency-enhancing technologies.

He also describes some of NS’ most exciting technology initiatives, including our industry-leading use of big data to predict operational problems before they occur, as well as the amazing data-collection and onboard computing capabilities of Positive Train Control.

As Scheib notes, “PTC, when combined with other technologies like big data, is the key to even bigger safety-enhancing opportunities to automate various aspects of our network — from dispatching and network management, to yard operations and inspections.”

In closing, Scheib underscores that while NS is committed to developing new high-tech tools to improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of our operations, we can’t go it alone. As NS works to reimagine possible, both for our company and the entire rail industry, so must the federal government – and in particular, the Federal Railroad Administration – reimagine its approach to regulating.

By robustly supporting technology efforts in our industry, “FRA can unleash a new age of innovation for railroads that will benefit our customers, the public, and our national economy,” says Scheib.

To read the AAR’s entire Q&A with Scheib and learn more about the importance of new rail technologies, visit the AAR’s website.