Econolite helps equip TRC’s new SMARTCenter CAV testing facility


One of the USA’s leading suppliers of all forms of ITS (intelligent transportation systems) equipment, Econolite, has highlighted its role in last week’s opening of the first phase of the SMARTCenter, a state-of-the-art connected and automated vehicle (CAV) testing facility.

Located in Ohio, the new SMARTCenter facility is operated by Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC), which runs the largest independent automotive proving ground in North America. Econolite has partnered with TRC to design and install a customized traffic management system for the SMARTCenter using the most advanced ITS solutions and products. Econolite’s Centracs ATMS (advanced traffic management system) software platform coordinates the network of the company’s Cobalt traffic controllers, ATC cabinets, video, radar, and radio detection systems, as well as the dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) roadside units (RSUs) that will be used for vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) testing.

The main, six-lane by six-lane signalized and connected intersection of the SMARTCenter provides TRC with the unique capability to individually control each of the 80 traffic lights across 16 signal heads, flexible signage, and temporary lane markings to quickly configure the intersection for different layouts and scenarios to facilitate testing for CAVs. Completed work on Phase 1 of the SMARTCenter includes:

  • The largest connected, signalized intersection in the industry, with more than 10 lane miles of new pavement;
  • 10,000-square-foot control building with vehicle preparation spaces, engineering offices, and the SMARTCenter control room;
  • Full site access to DSRC and high-speed wireless communication;
  • An underground power and fiber network to support current and future test technologies.

Future phases of the SMARTCenter that will open within the next year include:

  • Urban network consisting of different roadway environments, multiple intersections, roundabouts, and oblique intersection scenarios;
  • A 20-acre flexible dynamics platform
  • The latest 5G cellular network connectivity.

TRC Inc. provides a wide range of engineering, research and development, and compliance and certification testing for the mobility industry at its approximately 4,500 acres of land in East Liberty, Ohio, 40 miles northwest of Columbus. The company operates 24/7 with a variety of facilities including road courses, wooded trails, 7.5-mile (12km) High-speed Oval Test Track, and a 50-acre Vehicle Dynamics Area.

“Opening of the SMARTCenter, after more than five years of collaborative planning with our industry partners, provides an important enhancement to TRC’s robust portfolio of testing and research capabilities, serving to benefit those pioneering, exciting innovations in connected and automated mobility,” said Brett Roubinek, president and CEO of TRC Inc, at the facility’s opening ceremony. “We are proud to inaugurate this new, world-class testing facility alongside officials from ODOT, DriveOhio, JobsOhio, and The Ohio State University. The presence of these and our many other partners reinforces Ohio’s commitment to innovation and highlights our historic leadership in transportation technology.”

Econolite’s VP of systems integration, Jon Ringler, commented, “We are honored to partner with the TRC and their staff to successfully complete the first phase of the SMARTCenter. Econolite and TRC have common goals in advancing connected and automated vehicle technologies. This example of public-private collaboration will accelerate the development and deployment of connected mobility solutions that provide a safer and more sustainable future.”

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About Author


Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.