U.S. Rep. Fred Keller visits Penn State’s test track, CATA and other transportation facilities

August 21, 2019
In The News

In an effort to better understand where state infrastructure can be improved and how local communities are working to make improvements, U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, spent Tuesday afternoon touring Centre County transportation facilities.

Keller said his visit was one in a series of tours around Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Beginning with a tour of Avail Technologies in Ferguson Township, Keller said he wanted to focus on issues constituents believe to be important — infrastructure, job training and transportation. Keller also toured CATA and Penn State’s Test Track.

“This is all an effort to make sure that what’s happening here in PA-12, we can adequately advocate for in (Washington, D.C.),” Keller said. “Seeing the testing that’s happening here today, the involvement of the students, the people that will be trained, the technology being developed at Avail fits into all those things that everybody in PA-12 cares about.”

While touring Penn State’s facility, Keller learned about its bus testing program, test drive research and graduate student work. Associate research professor Suresh Iyer and Test Track manager Denny Kovalick walked Keller and staff through the facility and explained how they test vehicles, monitor carbon emissions and conduct a series of driving studies.

The test track is part of the College of Engineering’s Larson Transportation Institute. The facility is designed for a series of different research projects. The track features a 1-mile oval, large vehicle handling area and a durability-testing course that allows additional pavement and vehicle testing. A special section allows test surfaces to be changed for temporary testing.

Activities at the facility include crash testing of anti-terrorist barriers and new bus models. Some ongoing research projects are examining where best to put Wi-Fi hotspots on buses and how driving posture impacts driver fatigue.

Having a job, reliable transportation and a strong infrastructure are necessary to ensure a supportive system, Keller said. His visit to the area allowed him to witness ongoing local infrastructure improvement projects. In July, Keller toured the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway Project and earlier this month, he received an update on the Interstate 99 corridor project.

“The best part of being able to represent ... PA-12 is the fact that we can get out and learn what’s important to people, and we can learn how to get things done,” Keller said. “Today is another great opportunity to be doing that in the district.”