Transportation Research Center Inc.


Largest Independent Proving Grounds and Vehicle Testing Organization in the Americas

Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) independently manages a transportation research and testing facility serving the needs of industries, governments, trade associations, and educational organizations worldwide. Transportation Research Center (the Center) is located near East Liberty, Ohio, approximately 40 miles northwest of Columbus. Because much of TRC Inc.’s work is proprietary, many projects are described in general terms. However, the information presented on the following pages will provide the extent of TRC Inc.’s capabilities.


Mark-Tami Hotta

President and CEO,
Transportation Research Center Inc.

On behalf of our team, I am pleased to present the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) Annual Report for Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2016.

Since the last Annual Report was published, our team has been busy building the organization to better meet our customers needs, and to prepare for the growth and expansion necessary to meet those in the future – especially given the increasingly rapid evolution of the products, systems and technologies in the transportation industry.


Since the launch of our 5-Year Strategic Plan, our volume has grown 19% in the first year. This is due, in part, to the installation of a new Senior Leadership Team, who brought extensive automotive and entrepreneurial experience to TRC, and subsequently installed and positioned several new key functional directors to assist them. We have also added a seasoned former automotive executive to the Board of Directors as our new Vice Chairman.

The new team has restructured the business units within the organization, putting even greater emphasis on customers needs, and also has revamped our compensation and performance management system. In addition, several programs have been initiated to more effectively develop leadership skills at all levels within the organization.

Al Kammerer

TRC’s new Vice Chairman,
Board of Directors

OSU Engineering Job Fair

OSU Engineering Job Fair: David Karls, TRC Test Engineer on left, and Jordan Piening, Test Engineer on right.

To enhance and improve overall communications and workflow, private executive offices have been eliminated, and all staff members now operate in a flexible workspace arrangement. We have also installed an all-new Epicor ERP system to improve information and data flow throughout the organization.


As part of our increased focus on customer needs, we have expanded our on-site and off-site technical service offerings. New operations in Arizona have begun to support the unique testing needs of the southwest region, and we have entered into several memorandums of understanding (MoU) with partners around the globe to broaden our capabilities, and to better support diverse customer requirements.

We have launched several initiatives to significantly grow the “R” in TRC (Research); these will not only include staff members and partners, but also faculty and students from our relationships and affiliations in academia.

TRC at the 2017 North American International Auto Show

Left to Right: Carla Bailo, Assistant Vice President, Mobility Research and Business Development, The Ohio State University; David Emerling, Industry Collaborations Director, The Ohio State University; Jeff Sankey, Global Business Development Director, TRC Inc.; John Huang, Executive Director, Starlit Technologies.

Facilities, Capabilities, Growth

From a growth perspective, this is an incredibly exciting time at TRC. We have secured funding for several highly significant expansion and improvement projects to our current facilities:

  • A $45 million expansion funded by the State of Ohio and The Ohio State University for Phase 1 of an all-new Smart Mobility Advanced Research Center (SMART Center), to be built on 540 acres of our current grounds. This will quickly become a key source for critical testing and validation of rapidly evolving automated vehicle systems and technologies.
  • An all-new Multi-Purpose Center with 300-seat conference area and the capability to host a wide range of events.
  • An all-new Resident Customer Building with nine modular workshops for long-term rentals.
  • A revamped track control system that will enhance safety, and increase security and efficiency.
  • In addition to these facility initiatives, we have also launched a new supercar driving school – an addition to our current, highly successful training programs.

Branding and Marketing

To increase awareness and outreach, as well as better communicate with current customers, partners and other influencers, we have:

  • Redesigned our logo and brand identity system with a more contemporary, dynamic look.
  • Launched a new website to better communicate our key messages; clearly defining who we are and what we do.
  • Broadened our emphasis in the areas of marketing, public and media relations, and increased participation in meaningful industry initiatives and events.

TRC has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than 20 years.

A Focus on the Future

TRC will play an integral roll in the USDOT’s “Smart Columbus” mobility project, shaping how people and goods will be transported in coming decades. This and other future endeavors will continue to build on our history of leadership, vision and innovation in transportation and related technologies. And, with the expansion of our facilities – and capabilities – we plan to remain at the forefront of the development, testing and validation of quickly-evolving technologies, and continue to provide our clients the “one-stop, turnkey” services they need.

We are holding ourselves to the highest expectations: that our mindsets, behaviors and culture are always customer-focused, forward-looking, respectful, proactive and growth-oriented. Our vision is to be the center of choice for all of our customers, partners, employees and investors.

Mark-Tami Hotta

Mark-Tami Hotta

President and Chief Executive Officer
Transportation Research Center Inc.

Equal Employment Opportunity

It is the policy of TRC Inc. to provide equal opportunity in all areas of employment practices, without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status, or any other reason prohibited by law.


To enable stakeholder success through effective and efficient product development, workforce development and economic development.


To be the world’s leading vehicle test organization: a place of choice for customers, investors, employees and partners.


We strive to meet or exceed customer expectations.


We strive to protect the environment and assure safe and healthful working conditions.


Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) provides independent comprehensive research, development and testing services and facilities to manufacturers, industry organizations and government agencies worldwide.

In 1962, the College of Engineering of The Ohio State University (Ohio State) established a transportation research center to coordinate and encourage transportation-related academic and research programs. The University envisioned a facility for controlled transportation research without using public roadways, with their attendant control and safety problems. This concept was developed as a cooperative effort with the Ohio Department of Highways to such a level that The Ohio State Board of Trustees approved a development plan in 1966 and acquired the necessary land in Union and Logan Counties.

The concept was funded by a portion of the proceeds of a State of Ohio highway bond issue approved by the voters in 1968. In 1972, the Ohio Legislature created TRC of Ohio and established the Transportation Research Board for the control, management, supervision, and direction of the Center. Subsequently, the Board hired a staff to operate the facilities. TRC of Ohio was established to enhance the health, safety, and general welfare of all inhabitants of the State of Ohio, to create or preserve jobs and employment opportunities, and to improve the economic welfare of the State of Ohio.

In June 1979, the Board contracted with Ohio State to manage the operations and staff of the TRC of Ohio.

In September 1987, the Center’s property was offered as part of an economic inducement to attract a major automotive company to build an automobile plant in Ohio. On January 26, 1988, the property sale was consummated and TRC Inc. was formed as successor to the Transportation Research Board. TRC Inc., a non-profit Ohio corporation, affiliated with Ohio State, entered into a management agreement with the manufacturer to continue to operate the Research Center as a multi-user, independent test site.

The facility is operated for the use of automotive component and vehicle manufacturers, government agencies, and industry organizations worldwide. TRC Inc. conducts programs designed to test for safety, energy, fuel economy, emissions, durability, noise, crash, crash simulation and performance. The organization test trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, electric vehicles, passenger cars and components.

The staff, philosophy, and procedures of TRC Inc. continue to be dedicated to the conduct of research and testing for transportation related industries in a proprietary and confidential atmosphere.