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WTI Research Laboratories
A suite of laboratories to support our research work.
The Materials lab provides a place to test the mechanical properties of a variety of innovative materials used in transportation construction, such as geosynthetics or green highway materials like 100 percent fly ash concrete. Using a state-of-the-art servo-hydraulic testing system, researchers are able to simulate traffic loading to accurately study the behavior of these materials when placed in typical transportation environment.
The Systems lab facilitates the application of the systems engineering field’s best practices to the engineering, development and integration of Intelligent Transportation Systems, information technology and communications systems for rural areas. The lab serves as a testbed for numerous technologies and provides space and technology for a range of exercises including assembling and testing prototypes, and includes fabrication capability.
Transcend is a large-scale research facility currently under construction in Lewistown, Montana. When completed in spring 2009, it will provide a place where researchers can study multi-disciplinary transportation challenges in a full-scale environment without interfering with or affecting the traveling public. Located in the northwest United States, these investigations can be done in a variety of climates, especially the cold since Transcend will have a state-of-the-art snowmaking system to simulate winter conditions. Located on 230 acres of leased property, including and containing four miles of paved test track, its many other features will include: data acquisition and communication infrastructure, heated garage space and a place to handle study participants for human factors research. In essence, Transcend provides an open road to discover innovative solutions to the nations many rural transportation challenges through advanced research, development and testing.
The Corrosion and Sustainable Infrastructure Laboratory (CSIL) enables researchers to understand and mitigate the effects of materials corrosion on transportation systems as well as promote the sustainability of transportation infrastructure. WTIuses the lab to conduct problem-driven research in a trans-disciplinary manner with emphases on improved materials integrity, environmentally responsible maintenance and use of advanced technologies.
The high-fidelity driving simulation facility includes a suite of driving simulators that enables research capabilities across a full range of fidelity and ecological validity. The PC-based desktop simulators enable study in infrastructure, transportation visualization and traffic modeling. The virtual reality nonmotion simulator can be used to perform visualization, human factor experiments and system evaluations. The new state-of-the-art eight channel motion base simulator extends the simulation research capabilities. This facility provides an ideal setting to collect data on driver performance and behavior in a variety of driving scenarios custom-designed to meet the needs of individual transportation research projects. The lab includes (1) equipment to measure eye glance behavior correlated in real time with objects in the virtual environment, and (2) a software configurable dashboard with touch screen and multimodal interface capabilities (visual, 3D sound, pedal, seat and pedal haptic feedback) to develop and test different system interfaces.
The Murdock Naturalistic Driving Fleet & Lab will use six vehicles and sensor systems that will help researchers find ways to make rural roads in the US, such as Montana, less deadly.