The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), is awarding a $4.4 million grant to aid in the development of the Interstate 70 Truck Automation Corridor through the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) Program.
The I-70 Truck Automation Corridor is a project focused on using automated driving technology to move freight between Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio.
“Connected and autonomous driving technology is revolutionizing how we move people and products across our country,” said Jo McGuinness, INDOT commissioner Joe McGuinness. “Indiana and Ohio are proud to partner with USDOT to lead in the deployment of technology in a multistate highway corridor that will guide the future of automated driving and freight movement.”
The team receiving the grant includes the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and DriveOhio.
“Collaboration was the key to success,” said Jack Marchbanks, ODOT director. “The project team assembled features state DOTs, technology providers, and the men and women of the freight industry. We at the Ohio Department of Transportation and DriveOhio are excited for the positive economic impacts this project will bring to Ohio.”
This multistate approach, along with participation from technology providers, truck manufacturers, regional logistics councils and private freight companies, makes this project unique. With partners contributing $4.5 million in matching funds, the total investment in the project will be $8.9 million.
The project will provide freight companies and truck-automation vendors an opportunity to deploy partially automated driving technology in daily “revenue service” operations on I-70 between Indianapolis and Columbus. To ensure the safe deployment of these technologies on public roads, TRC will be an integral part of the project. Offering professional driver training for host fleets and performing an automation audit of I-70, the data the TRC collects will provide DOT partners with the insights they need to ensure roadways are ready for partially automated vehicles. During public road testing of automated vehicles, a professional driver will always be at the wheel to take control of the vehicle if needed. The project data gathered will be shared with USDOT to inform the development of policies and procedures to scale across the United States.
Indiana and Ohio have millions of transportation industry-related jobs, are within a one-day drive to 60 percent of the U.S. and Canadian population, and have experienced substantial freight growth. The data gained from this four-year project will support technological innovation in this vital sector of the regional economy.
“Indiana has become a national leader in freight and logistics by leveraging sustained infrastructure investment and embracing innovation,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. “As connected and autonomous vehicles take root, collaboration between public and private partners will be critical to safe, successful deployments. I’m proud that INDOT and our partners will be in the pole position when it comes to research and informing policy on this game-changing technology.”
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), said the $4.4 million grant will foster the partnership between the four organizations and two states involved with the I-70 project.
“I’m pleased to see this federal investment in our region and look forward to seeing how this partnership strengthens the reliability of autonomous driving and promotes further economic development in Ohio,” he said.