Cities and regions across Texas are partnering with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR), and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to form the Texas Automated Vehicle (AV) Proving Ground Partnership.
The partnership builds upon the momentum of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Smart City Challenge, in which Austin was a finalist, and is a direct outcome of the Texas Mobility Summit held 1–2 December 2016. The summit, hosted by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Texas Technology Task Force, brought together nine teams representing 10 cities and three research institutions to galvanize key leadership in developing innovative solutions to the state’s mobility challenges. The teams are committed to continuing the collaboration, beginning with leveraging their collective resources, expertise and opportunities to advance AV technology.
Members of the Texas Partnership are contributing their facilities, expertise and talents as part of a larger Texas network of proving grounds and test-bed sites. Proving grounds offer controlled environments on research campuses where the complete life-cycle development of AVs can be assessed and include the Texas A&M University System RELLIS Campus, which includes Texas A&M’s Proving Grounds, University of Texas at Austin Campus, and the SwRI Campus in San Antonio. Urban and freight test beds in the following cities offer real-world environments where a variety of scenarios may be explored:
Austin Area — Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Riverside Drive corridor.
Houston Area — Texas Medical Center, Houston METRO HOV lanes, and Port of Houston.
Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Area — UTA campus, Arlington streets, I-30 corridor and Managed Lanes.
San Antonio Area — Fredericksburg Road/Medical Drive corridor and bus rapid transit system.
El Paso Area — Tornillo/Guadalupe Port of Entry.
With five of the nation’s 15 fastest growing cities located in Texas and the state’s population expected to more than double by the year 2050, Texas seeks to manage this disruption proactively rather than allow rapid urbanization to stifle the state’s economy.
The Texas AV Proving Ground Partnership is also applying for USDOT designation as a national proving ground. The USDOT anticipates that the selection of the initial AV Proving Grounds will be completed during the first quarter of 2017. Designated facilities will open for testing by 1 January2018.