Partnership to create ‘smart testbed’ for advanced transportation technologies in Florida


The City of Gainesville, University of Florida (UF), and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) have formed a partnership to develop a ‘smart testbed’ for new and evolving advanced transportation technologies and equipment.

This will be the first such program in Florida to involve a city, a university, and the state DOT. It will also involve industry partnerships to facilitate the development and operation of testbed. The initiative aligns with the UF and City of Gainesville Strategic Plans by helping to turn Gainesville and UF into a proving ground for solutions that challenge cities nationwide; testing and implementing transportation alternatives for the community; and providing technologies that highlight UF as a preeminent university and the City of Gainesville as a New American City.

FDOT is funding the early research efforts of the initiative. Officials with the UF Transportation Institute (UFTI) are currently reviewing literature and other testbed applications around the world before setting an official date to begin local tests of new transportation technologies.

Advanced technologies, such as connected and autonomous vehicles, smart devices and sensors will be tested on the UF campus and surrounding highway network. Goals for the testbed include:

• Improving mobility and safety on the UF campus and around Gainesville;

• To facilitate the incorporation of UF invented technologies;

• To quantify how people engage with automated vehicles;

• To collaborate with businesses to test and enhance their own technologies;

• To become a national and international model for the use of technology to enhance transportation.

“We are very excited to be working with our long-time partners, FDOT and the City of Gainesville, as well as the UF administration in the development and use of advanced technologies on our campus,” said Professor Lily Elefteriadou, lead researcher and director of UFTI. “UF is an ideal location for such testing, as speeds are relatively low, there are lots of pedestrians, extensive bicycle facilities, scooters and mopeds, and one of the most heavily-used transit systems in Florida.”

Teresa Scott, City of Gainesville public works director, noted, “As changes in technology and infrastructure shape new opportunities for cities, we are excited to join this unique partnership, and look forward to pursuing new approaches that will benefit our community and residents.”

City of Gainesville manager Anthony Lyons added, “This is just one area that the city and university are collaborating to solve problems using more productive, creative and efficient methods than those used in the past.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).