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Federal Highway Administration
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Washington, DC 20590

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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations



Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-09-0014
Project Name:   Establishment of the Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory (TOL)
Project Status:   Completed
Start Date:  June 1, 2009
End Date:  November 30, 2012
Contact Information
Last Name:  Ferlis
First Name:  Robert A (Bob)
Telephone:  202-493-3268
E-mail:  robert.ferlis@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Operations Research and Development
Team:   Operations Research and Development [HRDO-2]
Program:   Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
Laboratory:   Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory
Project detail
Project Description:   Advanced mobility and safety services can use new vehicle-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communication technologies to allow smooth travel at desired speeds, to increase travel time reliability, to improve throughput, to improve safety, and to improve environmental performance. Many of the research projects sponsored through the Exploratory Advanced Research and Intelligent Transportation Systems programs are identifying new services, or possible enhancements to exiting services, that can potentially offer substantial benefits. Because these services have not yet been realized in deployments, laboratory testing and transportation models are needed to further analyze and improve the concepts and to provide early valuations of their potential benefits.
The key project objectives are:
(1) Establish test beds at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) for data resources, concepts and analysis, and cooperative vehicle-highway systems testing, which will improve the scope and quality of the Operations and Safety research activities.
(2) Attract researchers and outside research investments through the availability of enhanced test beds for Operations and Safety at TFHRC.
Background Information:   A vision for the Transportation Operations Laboratory (TOL) was developed and validated with Federal Highway Administration Operations leadership in December 2009.  Since then, preliminary plans for the critical Cooperative Vehicle-Highway (CVH) and concepts/analysis testbeds were developed internally. A contract was then issued to design, build, and operate the Transportation Operations Laboratory (TOL).
Product Type:   Other
Promotional materials
Research report
Test Methodology:   Stakeholders, including key partners in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Operations, as well as the Office of Operations Research and Development research staff, were queried to identify research requirements and uses for the Transportation Operations Laboratory (TOL) test beds. A concept of operations was then developed, internally reviewed, and used as a basis for the phase 1 design of the Transportation Operations Laboratory (TOL). A plan to build the phase 1 TOL facility by September 2011 was developed. A research plan will also be developed when experience with operating the TOL has been gained. Then, phase 2 investments can be made so that the TOL can continue to enable and leverage many research projects in the future.
Expected Benefits:   The quality and scope of transportation operations and safety research will be improved and technology will be developed to improve transportation operations and safety performance.
Deliverables: 1. Name: Construction and Opening of the Transportation Operations Laboratory (TOL)
Product Type(s): Promotional materials, Other
Description: Construction of the Saxton space as the main Transportation Operations Laboratory (TOL) facility, and preparation of the Vehicle Preparation area for the Cooperative Vehicle-Highway testbed use, including realization of the design and provision of furniture and equipment. The opening will include the use of four demonstration scenarios that will highlight research activities that the Transportation Operations Laboratory (TOL) will be able to support.
2. Name: Identify Uses of the Saxton Transportation Laboratory.
Product Type(s): Research report, Promotional materials
Description: Report that lists the potential uses of the Saxton Transportation Laboratory.
FHWA Topics:   Research/Technologies--FHWA Research and Technology
TRT Terms:   Transportation Operations
Traffic Simulation
Test Beds
Highway Traffic Control
FHWA Disciplines:   Operations
Subject Areas:   Operations and Traffic Management
Safety and Human Factors
Vehicles and Equipment


Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101