Centrally located between Tampa and Orlando in Polk County; SunTrax is a large-scale, state-of-the-art facility being developed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE). SunTrax is dedicated to the research, development and testing of emerging transportation technologies in safe and controlled environments.
- Its mission is to advance technology solutions which improve the safety and efficiency of transportation.
- Its vision is to be a continuously evolving, nationally recognized center for the development of innovative transportation solutions.
The SunTrax Facility
SunTrax is situated on 475 acres and is composed of a 2.25-mile-long oval test track around a 200-acre infield. The multi-lane track will make it the only high-speed autonomous vehicle (AV) testing facility in the southeastern United States. In the infield, there will be multiple simulated transportation environments, including:
- An urban area to simulate intersection configurations and complex lighting, signing, and signalization conditions,
- a 20-acre open paved technology pad providing the ability to replicate nearly any real-world geometric configuration and perform endless test scenarios,
- a roadway geometry track made up of complex horizontal and vertical curves, plus irregular grade changes, and
- a pick-up/drop-off area to replicate various multimodal passenger transfers, such as airports and transit centers.
The intent is to maximize the site’s flexibility and variability, providing as many challenging environments as possible for the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) and other emerging technologies. The entire site will be a connected environment for the testing of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), and vehicle-to-anything (V2X) communications. SunTrax will also have a unique tolls technology testing component, with four all-electronic toll gantries and supporting infrastructure being constructed. FTE will conduct its tolls testing on the site, both on existing hardware and software systems and future generations of tolling equipment and payment systems.
SunTrax is being developed in two phases. The first phase of construction will allow FTE to continue testing all types of current and future toll technology. It includes the construction of a 2.25-mile multi-lane test high-speed track, four toll gantries, an operations building facility, a storage building facility, and an access road from Braddock Road to the SunTrax site. The infield of the track will be preserved for future development during this first phase of construction. The high-speed oval track was completed in May of 2019.
Phase two includes the infield of the track, which will focus on CAV testing features which have been designed based on extensive input from potential users and industry partners. Construction of the infield began in January 2020 and is expected to conclude in the summer of 2022.
The SunTrax site is surrounded by several hundred acres of developable property in an area that is actively pursuing growth from high tech industries. It is directly adjacent to FTE’s Polk Parkway (SR 540) and less than two miles away from Florida Polytechnic University, which is solely dedicated to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs. It is also convenient to FTE’s headquarters and the Tampa and Orlando metropolitan areas.