Pennsylvania agencies plan state-of-the-art safety facility

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), and the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) of Southwestern PA are partnering to plan and design the Pennsylvania Safety, Transportation and Research Track (PennSTART).

PennSTART will be a state-of-the-art facility that will benefit emergency responders, transportation technology companies, and research institutions.

The facility will conduct automated vehicle (AV) testing and development. It also will address safety, training, and research needs in six areas: AV and other emerging technologies, commercial vehicles, traffic incident management, tolling and intelligent transportation systems technology, transit vehicles, and work zones.

The facility would be built adjacent to the RIDC Westmoreland site in Mount Pleasant.

RIDC Westmoreland was created by renovating a 2.8 million-square-foot manufacturing facility. It houses Westmoreland Community College Advanced Technology Center, workforce development provider, contract manufacturers, AV companies, and other tenants.

PennDOT, the PTC, and their partners have improved traffic incident management.

State agencies and responder groups met at a summit in 2016 to discuss the issue and establish policies and partnerships. The following year, the Pennsylvania Traffic Incident Management Enhancement initiative was formed. Five state agencies formalized an interagency agreement in 2018.

More than 20,000 responders have been trained through the initiative.