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Virginia Smart Roads

The Virginia Smart Roads are controlled-access test tracks built to Federal Highway Administration standards. The roads are equipped with advanced research infrastructure and are supported by a full-time staff that serve to coordinate all road activities and oversee operations.

The Virginia Smart Roads are state-of-the-art, closed test-bed research facilities managed by VTTI in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

In partnership with VDOT, VTTI opened the original Virginia Smart Road – the highway section – in 2000. This became one of the world's most advanced testing facilities for transportation technology and safety research. More than 37,000 hours of research have been conducted on the road since its opening. In November 2017, VTTI launched the Virginia Smart Roads, a suite of test tracks that enable advanced-vehicle testing in an interconnected and comprehensive cross section of roadways: including highway, surface, rural, and unimproved.

With over seven miles of roadbed, these research facilities feature weather-making, lighting capabilities, advanced sensors, traffic intersections, and varying pavement types, enabling VTTI to conduct vehicle evaluations and driver safety testing for its partners in a secure location. Collectively, the Virginia Smart Roads – which include a highly modular and reconfigurable surface street environment – are an ideal facility for advanced-vehicle testing.

The Smart Roads play a critical role in the overall success of VTTI and its research mission: to save lives, time, and money, and protect the environment.

The Virginia Smart Roads are FAA-approved testing facilities for unmanned aerial systems.

Control Room

VTTI houses the Smart Roads Control Room through which on-site research is scheduled and overseen. Controllers monitor the Smart Roads from a computer-equipped control center. Researchers can observe traffic and driver performance via multiple video monitors and engineers can manipulate the lighting and the weather on the Highway section from the Smart Roads Control Room.


The Highway section was the first installment of the Virginia Smart Roads and is outfitted with roadside equipment units and lighting and weather controls in addition to other features.

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Surface Street

The Surface Street facilitates advanced/automated vehicle testing in highly reconfigurable environments such as suburban neighborhoods and city intersections.

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Live Roadway Connector

The Live Roadway Connector is equipped with traffic control devices and protocols. This allows VTTI to seamlessly route test vehicles between its closed test tracks and a live traffic environment.

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Rural Roadway

The first test bed of its kind, the Rural Roadway was designed to recreate the challenges of rural environments.

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Click an icon or name on the timeline to watch a video on each section of the Smart Roads.