AUTOMATED VEHICLES: Penn. Turnpike fiber optic project would help accommodate 'smart' cars

June 15, 2016

The news also comes as state transportation officials and lawmakers are collaborating on development of guidelines and legislation to govern autonomous vehicles in Pennsylvania

A fiber optic cable running the 550-mile length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will prepare the toll road for future data needs, including those connected with "smart" cars.

The line will be installed under a project approved this week by the state's Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission can now begin seeking industry input and expects to request private sector statements of qualifications beginning in October.

Officials said they are pursuing a P3 model for the project because bonding the fiber’s construction would take away resources from other Turnpike capital improvements.

Such a partnership also allows the commission to take advantage of private-sector expertise in installing, operating, marketing and maintaining fiber optic cable in a region that could be attractive to private-sector connections in nearby metropolitan areas, officials said.

The commission expects to select a preferred partner in June 2017, with portions of the line installed and operational in 2018.

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