AUTOMATED VEHICLES: Tampa’s Selmon Expressway tabbed as driverless-car test site

City one of two in Florida among crop of 10 chosen nationwide

February 14, 2014

The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa, Fla., is set to lead the push toward driverless cars after being named one of 10 test sites nationwide for the growing technology this week. No timetable has been set for when testing will begin.

Preparations for testing are being made by the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority and the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida (USF). Under the most likely scenario, the driverless cars will only be tested on the expressway’s elevated lanes during non-peak hours so the lanes can be closed to all other traffic. 

The crop of 10 sites—which also includes Orlando—was chosen by the U.S. DOT and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). Because of the designation, the city of Tampa will have full access to all of the businesses, automakers and researchers working on making automated vehicles a reality.

Officials with the expressway authority and USF said they hope to expand testing to arterial roads of the Selmon Expressway to put the vehicles through a full driving experience.