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

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-135
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility, Volume IV: Phase II—Study 2: Visual Performance During Nighttime Driving in Rain

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Photo. Smart Road testing facility. Click here for more detail.
Figure 48. Photo. Smart Road testing facility.

The Virginia Smart Road (figure 48) is a unique, state-of-the-art, full-scale research facility for pavement research and evaluation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) concepts, technologies, and products. It is the first facility of its kind to be built from the ground up with its research infrastructure incorporated into a section of public roadway. Originating in Blacksburg, VA, the Smart Road presently consists of 3.2 km (2 mi) of two lanes of roadway, which are closed to public traffic and are designated a controlled test facility. When completed, the Smart Road will be a 9.6 km (6 mi) long, four-lane section of the U.S. Interstate system, connecting Blacksburg, VA with U.S. Interstate (I) 81. This connection will serve an important role in the I–81 and I–73 transportation corridor. After completion, provisions will be made to route traffic around controlled test zones on the Smart Road to allow for ongoing testing.

Construction of the Smart Road project was made possible through a cooperative effort of several Federal and State organizations, including Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Virginia Tech.

The research-supported infrastructure of the Smart Road makes it an ideal location for safety and human factors evaluation. Following is a list of some of the unique research capabilities of the facilities:

  • All-weather testing facility.

  • Variable lighting test bed.

  • UV pavement markings.

  • Magnetic tape installed on roadway.

  • Onsite data acquisition capabilities.

  • In-house differential Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

  • Surveillance camera systems.


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