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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Contact: Nancy Singer, 202-366-0660
FHWA 29-03

DOT Joins George Washington University At Ground Breaking for New Crash Center

ASHBURN, VA-Two agencies of the U.S. Department of Transportation today joined The George Washington University in breaking ground for a new crash test facility in Loudoun County, VA. The new center will be located at the university's Virginia campus in Ashburn, VA.

The new 80,000 square-foot facility will include an indoor facility for highway and infrastructure safety testing, an automotive crash test barrier and laboratories. It is scheduled to open in 2005.

The Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also joined the university in commemorating 10 years of partnership in highway safety research at the current National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC), also located at the GW Virginia campus.

"This partnership has enhanced the FHWA's research in infrastructure safety by using computer simulation alongside live crash testing," FHWA Deputy Administrator J. Richard Capka said at the groundbreaking. "Our goal is to help states design safer roadsides. The work we're doing at the Center has led to better decisions about roadside hardware standards and improved highway safety."

The NCAC's highway infrastructure safety research supports the research at the FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, VA, and has resulted in life-saving innovations in highway technology. For example, NCAC research has helped improve over a dozen roadside hardware devices, such as guardrails, signposts and lighting towers.

Over the past decade, NCAC research has explored both automobile and roadside hardware safety in a combined approach to crash testing and modeling. Building on the results of simulation and testing, the NCAC has helped bridge the gap between computer analysis and live testing. According to the FHWA, this has enabled roadside hardware design problems to be solved in less time and with less cost than with traditional testing methods.

"The very foundation of this agency has been built on good, reliable research," said Ronald L. Medford, NHTSA Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety. "Good policy decisions are made possible with a sound scientific foundation."

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