The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Transportation Engineering and Science Program

Park description

TennSMART is centered at ETTP (TennSMART central), on the Oak Ridge Reservation, in Roane and Anderson Counties in East Tennessee (Figure 1). ETTP is the former US Department of Energy (DOE) K-25 gaseous diffusion plant site from the Manhattan Project. The DOE Office of Environmental Management invested and continue to invest approximately $400M/year in the environmental cleanup and infrastructure. It includes 50.3 miles of roadways including 20.8 miles limited access asphalt roads, 13.46 miles of protected gravel roads, 1.2 protected reservation management roads, 2.4 miles of haul roads, 5.5 current and future Oak Ridge city roads, and 6.8 miles of current and future state roads. Future roads are existing roads which are currently in the process of transferring ownership from federal to these entities. ETTP is connected to TTU campus (TennSMART west) and UTK campus (TennSMART east) via the TennSMART corridor I-40. I-40 is a USDOT designated alternative fuel corridor. TennSMART thus includes over 200 miles of public and protected roads. The park features a unique set of road structures and infrastructure including extensive sprawling areas which can be particularly difficult to navigate for CAVs and allows for research and testing in these rural settings. The park is used for connected and automated vehicle testing, and deployment as well as analysis of choices, e.g., mode shifts.

TennSMART east: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Campus

The UTK campus is situated in the heart of Knoxville, a thriving modern city with the welcoming personality of a small Southern town. It was home for 28,000 students in the fall of 2016 and operated with approximately 10,000 faculty and staff members. Founded in 1794, UTK is Tennessee's flagship land grant university. It has been continuously accredited since 1897 and offers more than 300 degree programs on its 11 colleges. As a research university, UTK has been given classified as "very high" by the Carnegie Foundation.

The 40-year old Center for Transportation Research (CTR) at UTK is a $10M/year entity that facilitates transportation research, education, and outreach. The CTR is one of the nine nationally renowned research centers in the Tickle College of Engineering. The work at the CTR continues the long tradition of commitment to excellence in scientific research and the training of engineering professionals in more than 100 state-of-the-art laboratories within the Tickle College of Engineering.

Interstate I-40 provides easy access on the north side of the UTK campus. Most of the campus roadway system is under the jurisdiction of the University of Tennessee and provides a mix of functional classes, including urban arterials, collectors, and local streets (Figure 2). More than 17,000 parking spaces are available on campus. Students rely on a campus-wide transit system that provided more than one million rides on eight routes in 2016. Moreover, designated bike lanes encourage alternative modes of transportation while sidewalks and walkways accommodate thousands of pedestrians on a daily basis.

TennSMART west: The Tennessee Technological University Campus

TTU is a nationally ranked university that prides itself on producing practical, ready-to-work graduates from a broad range of academic disciplines. With more than 10,000 students, TTU offers more than 40 undergraduate majors and 24 graduate programs. TTU's campus facility provides a multimodal grid network for access by students, faculty, and staff (Figure 3). The TTU Tennessee Center for Intelligent Mobility has faculty and facilities to conduct transportation education and research (e.g., truck and tire testing and evaluation).

TennSMART central: ETTP and ORNL

ETTP is the main research, development, and deployment (RD&D) site together with the ORNL campus for TennSMART (Figure 4. The I-40 corridor and the university campuses serve as demonstration test beds for testing the efficacy of alternative CAV technologies. ETTP has a perfect infrastructure for serving as an immediate test bed for early RD&D and deployment of CAV technology. ETTP has been in the works for some time, and the USDOT designation solidifies the partnerships, propelling TennSMART to begin operations and expand partnerships.

Besides testing surface transportation CAV technologies, the park provides a unique element, which is connectivity of surface transportation with air transportation. Figure 5 shows the location of the planned airport, which will be available for conventional air transportation and for autonomous (drone) aircraft research and development (R&D) starting in 2020. All entities involved and owning roads or facilities as well as having jurisdiction over roads or facilities are supportive of this park. Table 1 lists the miles of roads on the ETTP site that are available for CAV testing. The team has solid R&D programs making full use of the park.

ORNL has unique infrastructure for data management and data sharing. ORNL provides the CAV testing data to other USDOT designated proving grounds and the community and provides infrastructure and expertise to host data from other test beds.


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System