SMARTCenter Groundbreaking

Transportation Research Center, Inc. Breaks Ground on SMARTCenter

EAST LIBERTY, Ohio (Jul 9) – Alongside Ohio Governor John R. Kasich and senior state officials, Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.), the largest independent automotive proving ground in North America, broke ground today on the SMARTCenter ‒ a state-of-the-art automated and connected vehicle testing facility. The SMARTCenter is designed to test advanced automotive and mobility technologies in a safe, secure, and repeatable real-world environment before the vehicles are deployed on public roads and highways.

“Today’s groundbreaking for the SMARTCenter is the culmination of over five years of collaborative planning with our invaluable industry partners. The addition of the SMARTCenter to TRC Inc.’s already robust portfolio of offerings can only serve to benefit the dedicated group of stakeholders who are pioneering the next innovations in the connected and automated space. We’re proud to put shovels in the ground alongside Governor Kasich and officials from ODOT, DriveOhio, JobsOhio, and The Ohio State University to reinforce Ohio’s commitment to innovation – particularly in transportation technology,” said Brett Roubinek, President and CEO of TRC Inc.

The SMARTCenter is designed to provide a high degree of flexibility in replicating a variety of real-world scenarios for all types of passenger and commercial vehicles. When completed and supported by TRC Inc.’s service offerings, the SMARTCenter will be the largest, most comprehensive contained testing site for advanced vehicle technologies and feature:

  • the longest (1.2 miles) and widest (six lanes) connected, signalized intersection in the industry,
  • an urban network consisting of movable intersections, roundabouts, and oblique intersection scenarios,
  • a 10,000 square foot control building with garage and office space,
  • full site access to DSRC and high speed wireless communication,
  • and an underground power distribution and fiber network to support current and future test technologies.

“This is a giant step forward in making Ohio the go-to state for developing vehicles and smart transportation technologies of the future,” said Governor John R. Kasich. “The SMARTCenter positions Ohio as the premiere destination for researchers, developers, and manufacturers to test, build, and deploy advanced mobility solutions that will make our roads safer and less congested.”

Projected to take approximately 18 months, construction on the SMARTCenter is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. Funding for the $45 million project is being provided by the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, and The Ohio State University.

SMARTCenter Facts:

  • $45 million total funding for Phase 1
  • Over 1.1 million square feet of pavement equaling 18.5 lane miles
  • Over 700,000 cubic yards – or 51,000 truckloads – of earth moved
  • More than 20,000 linear feet of underground conduits to distribute power and fiber optics throughout the site
  • The site detention ponds will hold roughly 450 million of gallons water, the equivalent of 681 Olympic sized swimming pools

About Transportation Research Center:
Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) provides a wide range of engineering, research and development, and compliance and certification testing for the mobility industry. With 40-plus years of engineering expertise and industry knowledge, TRC Inc. serves the needs of industries, governments, trade associations, and educational institutions worldwide. TRC Inc. is located on approximately 4,500 acres of land in East Liberty, OH, 40 miles northwest of Columbus, OH. TRC Inc. operates 24/7 with a variety of facilities including road courses, wooded trails, 7.5-mile High-speed Oval Test Track, and a 50-acre Vehicle Dynamics Area. On this expansive facility, TRC Inc. conducts programs designed to test for safety, energy, fuel economy, emissions, durability, performance, noise, crash simulation, and crash-worthiness. Programs evaluate performance of passenger cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, airplanes, off-road, tracked, alternative-fueled vehicles, and their components.

TRC SMART Center Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) announces all-new Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test Center with $45 million new infrastructure expansion to test connected and driverless vehicles for the future mobility of people and goods

East Liberty, OHIO — Ohio Governor John R. Kasich announced today that the State of Ohio and the Ohio State University are funding the $45 million Phase 1 expansion of the Transportation Research Center’s (TRC) all-new 540-acre SMART (Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test) Center – a state-of-the-art hub for automated and autonomous testing, to be built within the 4,500 acres of the nation’s largest independent automotive proving grounds.

“Thanks to the support of the state of Ohio, Ohio Department of Transportation, JobsOhio and The Ohio State University, the SMART Center expansion provides the capabilities, facilities and support to enable the development of future automated vehicles,” said Mark-Tami Hotta, CEO, TRC Inc. “TRC’s SMART Center is designed to test new technologies and highly automated vehicles in a closed, safe, secure and repeatable real world environment, before the vehicles are deployed on public roads and highways.

“Smart mobility, with connected vehicles and enhanced infrastructures, offers greater accessibility and mobility options, reduced road congestion and more efficient use of natural resources,” said Hotta.

Phase 1 of the expansion will include a flexible platform and infrastructure; the industry’s largest high-speed intersection; the industry’s longest and most flexible test platform (a space the width of more than 50 highway lanes and the length of 10 football fields end-to-end); an urban network of intersections, roundabouts, traffic signals; a rural network including wooded roads, neighborhood network and a SMART Center support building.

“There’s been an explosion of demand for active safety and autonomous testing around the world, and TRC’s SMART Center is committed to providing a comprehensive solution to that demand,” said Hotta “As the largest independent vehicle test facility and proving grounds in North America, with more than 1,000 customers worldwide, we’re experts in testing and validating vehicles. We want to provide the industry and government regulatory agencies every test and infrastructure needed to make automated and autonomous vehicles safe for public roads, as we have been doing for the last 40 years.”

“We have visited virtually every other active safety and autonomous vehicle test facility around the world, talked with dozens of customers, and are partnering with many others in this space so that we can best serve the needs of everyone regarding creating safer vehicles, safer drivers, and safer roads,” Hotta added.

TRC has been testing different types of vehicles – cars, trucks, buses, ATVs, military vehicles and virtually every kind of specialty vehicle – and components on its 4,500-acre facility in East Liberty, Ohio for more than 40 years, including testing automated and autonomous vehicles over the last two decades. According to Hotta, there are three main reasons to expand on TRC’s proving grounds and the establishment of the SMART Center:

First, to support Columbus’s $140 million US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Smart City project. TRC provides a convenient location to safely test new technologies before their use on city streets and highways.

Second, TRC is the home of the only federal vehicle research and test laboratory for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA issued its first directives on autonomous vehicle operation last September, and will need more track time to develop further guidelines for the industry.

Third, TRC’s SMART Center is designed to enable car manufacturers and suppliers to expand their automated and autonomous testing where the guidelines are being developed.

TRC’s SMART Center will be the only independent facility of its kind that is a part of a comprehensive one-stop test facility all vehicle test and development can be efficiently performed at one location.

Funding efforts are underway for Phases 2 and 3 of the SMART Center expansion. Phase 2 will focus on the world’s first indoor test facility, which will allow for severe weather conditions, such as snow, ice, fog and freezing rain, to be available on-demand, year-round, to enable rigorous testing of highly automated vehicles
in severe operating conditions. Phase 3 will include a six-lane high-speed highway, with on and off ramps and underpasses, to support the testing of vehicle swarming and truck platooning.

For more information about the Transportation Research Center (TRC), visit the website at www.trcpg.com.

###

The Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) is the leading independent automotive testing facility and proving grounds in the U.S., specializing in research and vehicle testing. On 4,500 acres of land and strategically placed approximately 40 miles outside of Columbus, Ohio, TRC Inc. operates 24/7, conducting brake, crashworthiness, durability, fuel economy, emissions, handling, and performance testing, and ensures the highest level of safety and security for its multiple customers. TRC Inc.’s experts collaborate with industry partners, such as The Ohio State University, to develop future mobility solutions for passenger and commercial vehicles, including autonomous and active safety technologies. As a multi-user facility, the TRC Inc. team focuses on the complex needs of its various domestic and international customers by providing mobility solutions to develop better vehicles, better drivers, and better roadways.

Download as PDF: TRC_SMART_Center_Announcement