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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory

Transforming transportation systems through research and new technologies.

"A graphic of the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC). In the background is a graphical representation of the TFHRC campus with a passenger vehicle labeled CARMA in front of the building. Signal waves coming out of the building and the vehicle showcase vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, one of the technologies being researched at TFHRC.  A box appears in front of the TFHRC campus graphic. Within the box appears the text “Research. Develop. Test. Deploy.”. Underneath this text is another line of text, “Experts/Collaboration”. Under this text are three icons lined up in a row (left to right): the first icon is a representation of analysis, modeling, and simulation; the middle one is a representation of cooperative driving automation; and the last icon is a representation of intelligent transportation systems. Each of these icons are connected to the “Experts/Collaboration” text with three double-headed arrows. The box is outlined by arrows, representing the continuous nature of the research being done at TFHRC."

The Saxon Transportation Operations Laboratory (STOL) serves as a confluence of transportation research, development, testing, and deployment. Housed within the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, Virginia, the STOL enables the FHWA to conceptualize, validate, and refine innovative transportation services and technologies prior to larger scale development and implementation. The STOL is shaping the future of transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) by developing intelligent transportation solutions and advancing industry adoption.

The STOL is surrounded by extensive connected road, traffic signal, and mobile sensing networks that enable a broad range of research needs, including testing of connected automation applications. A fleet of vehicles for cooperative driving automation (CDA) research and development (R&D) is housed within the facility’s vehicle preparation garage, and connected laboratories onsite host state-of-the-art simulation and analysis tools. Backed by a network of physical prototypes, test beds, and advanced simulation tools, the STOL enables the convergence of Federal staff, transportation researchers, academics, and industry collaborating on cutting-edge transportation research.

STOL activities support three key research focus areas, enhance the expertise of the staff at the TFHRC, and contribute to the Data Resources Testbed (DRT).

Cooperative Driving Automation (CDA)
CDA enables automated vehicles (AVs) to cooperate through communication between vehicles, infrastructure, pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users. The STOL is spearheading the R&D of CDA features, which, once deployed, have the potential to advance transportation safety, mobility, and efficiency.


Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Technologies
ITS technologies are targeted to infrastructure and vehicles, as well as integrated applications between the two, to support the development of intelligent transportation systems. STOL research optimizes existing and develops innovative ITS technologies for deployment to power improvements in transportation safety, mobility, and reliability.


Data Resources Testbed (DRT)
The DRT provides access to data collected from the FHWA’s transportation operations research projects that are not directly accessible to the public through the ITS Public Data Hub or through other data portals supported by the United States Department of Transportation.


Staff Expertise
The STOL also supports the workforce development and technology transfer of pioneering transportation service concepts and technologies through knowledgeable onsite staff operating support services programs, physical prototype systems, and advanced simulation capabilities.

Multimodal efforts of the USDOT generate groundbreaking research and pilot technologies through collaboration, research, and testing. Through this critical work, the STOL aims to enhance the Nation’s transportation system’s efficiency, safety, capacity, and reliability.

Learn more about STOL research in the FHWA Research Projects Search

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Last updated: Monday, November 8, 2021