The current Janney-type railroad coupler has seen little change since the original patent in 1873. The problem with current Janney Couplers is mechanical failure during use. An increase in strength, reduction in weight, and improvement in design could yield a more reliable and effective coupler. In order to be implemented in the industry, the coupler needs to be compatible with all current types of Janney coupler in use and have relatively the same cost.
In the Spring of 2013, a Michigan Tech Senior Design Team investigated ways to improve the railroad coupler to increase reliability and effectiveness.