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News » US » Pennsylvania to build transportation research track » published 12 Apr 2018

Pennsylvania to build transportation research track

Work is set to start on development of a transportation research track in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) are partnering with Penn State University to begin site planning and design for the Pennsylvania Safety, Transportation & Research Track (PennStart). The facility envisioned to benefit emergency responders, transportation organizations and research institutions.

The aim of PennStart is to address safety, training and research needs in six key areas: traffic incident management; tolling and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology; work zones; commercial vehicles; transit vehicles; and connected and automated vehicles.

“As we make advancements in highway safety and transportation technologies, we need to be sure that our teams, researchers and students and first-responder partners have as much knowledge as possible about these tools as they develop,” said PennDOT and PTC chair Leslie S Richards. “PennStart will provide Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region with access to innovative technologies for testing and education purposes.”

Examples of technologies for which safety and operational testing as well as training could be conducted at the facility include:

  • safe, simulated training for higher-speed and mobile work-zone operations;
  • safety certification training opportunities;
  • simulated environments for temporary traffic control device testing and evaluation;
  • controlled environments to test various connected and automated vehicle technologies for transit buses, infrastructure equipment and other applications.

“We as highway operators have a responsibility to adapt to growing traffic and emerging technology in a thoughtful way while also being mindful of the speed at which these changes are taking place in our industry,” said PTC CEO Mark P Compton. “The testing and training that will be available at PennStart will give the commonwealth a huge head-start on ensuring the continued safety of travelers and responders on our highways both today and well into the future.”

“Penn State is pleased to partner with PennDOT and the PTC to begin exploring potential sites and design specifications for this much needed facility,” said Penn State Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey. “As envisioned, the PennSTART facility would provide a wonderful facility for teaching and research while ensuring the safety of our highway workers, improving traffic flow and advancing safe vehicle automation.”


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This article was published on 12 Apr 2018 (last updated on 12 Apr 2018).

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