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In the News

August 11, 2022

PennDOT, Pa. Turnpike, RIDC of Southwestern PA to Collaborate on State-of-the-Art Safety, Training and Research Facility

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian announced that the department, the Pa. Turnpike Commission, and the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) of Southwestern PA are partnering on site planning and design for the Pennsylvania Safety, Transportation and Research Track, or PennSTART – a state-of-the-art facility envisioned to benefit emergency responders, transportation technology companies, and research institutions while supporting the local economy.

“As highway safety and transportation technologies advance, our teams, first responders, students and researchers should also be learning about these tools,” Gramian said. “PennSTART will provide access to innovative technologies for testing and education.”

In addition to allowing Automated Vehicle (AV) testing and development, PennSTART’s aim is to address safety, training, and research needs in six key areas: traffic incident management (TIM); tolling and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology; work zones; commercial vehicles; transit vehicles; and AV and other emerging technologies.

“Our region already has a thriving cluster of autonomous technology companies and is one of the national leaders in the development of driverless vehicles,” said Donald F. Smith, Jr., RIDC President. “Today’s PennSTART announcement is the fulfillment of one of the recommendations outlined in a joint RIDC—Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce report on how to facilitate the growth and impact of the industry. Southwestern Pennsylvania has a long history of successful public-private partnerships to advance our region, and we are gratified to be able to partner with PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission to develop this project as a regional asset that will continue to attract companies, jobs and investment.”

To read the press release in full, visit PAcast.com.

Media Coverage:

New PennSTART facility looks to serve autonomous vehicle companies, research institutions and first responders

$20 million self-driving vehicle testing, training facility to be built in East Huntingdon

Former Volkswagen and Sony plant in Mount Pleasant will become training site for emergency response crews and state road workers