Ohio’s Transportation Research Center has undergone a state-funded expansion that has yielded the longest driverless vehicle test track in the state.
The new Smart Mobility Advanced Research Test (SMART) Center in Logan County, about 40 miles northwest of Columbus, includes a six-lane, high-speed “smart” intersection, complete with a traffic light, that companies and researchers can use to test new vehicle technology.
The cost of the center came in at $45 million, of which $25 million was provided by Ohio State University; the remainder was furnished by the state, including the Ohio DOT.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich had announced the center two years ago, and this past week current Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was on hand for the official ribbon cutting. Husted was quoted as saying, “This is a world-class facility. and it’s a tremendous asset, and what happens here literally will save people’s lives.”
The state Transportation Research Center opened in 1974, as the brainchild of former Gov. Jim Rhodes. It helped attract Honda to establish a manufacturing plant in Marysville, which is just down the road and today employs more than 4,000 workers. The state bought the thousands of acres of farmland upon which the facility was built and later turned it over to Ohio State, which now runs it through a private affiliate.
The new SMART facility measures 540 acres, which is two-thirds the size of Central Park. The north-south leg of the six-lane intersection measures 1.2 miles, which officials tout as the longest in the industry.
$45 million total funding for Phase 1
Over 1.1 million sq ft of pavement equaling 18.5 lane miles
Over 700,000 cubic yd, or 51,000 truckloads, of earth moved
More than 20,000 linear ft of underground conduits to distribute power and fiber optics throughout the site
The site detention ponds will hold roughly 450 million of gallons water, the equivalent of 681 Olympic-sized swimming pools
Photo: Ohio State University