Auburn University Funds Lab to Make Transportation Safer & Greener

T he Auburn University Board of Trustees recently approved the beginning phases of a $15 million research lab for the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.
The object is to make transit vehicles more efficient with increased levels of safety and reduced emissions.

The Vehicle Research and Innovation Laboratory project is proposed as a testing facility to address challenges faced by transit vehicle manufacturers in adopting low- or no-emissions technologies. The project will have a multi-axle dynamometer, designed for full-sized transit vehicles within an environmental chamber, along with areas for component and engine testing, data analytical space, and general office space.

Mario Eden, dean of engineering, said the design plans for the facility are underway.

“This lab is going to allow us to make transit vehicles more efficient, with increased levels of safety and reduced emissions,” Eden said. “Our research and expertise in this area is another example of how Auburn Engineering is addressing pressing issues with real-world solutions.”

The new lab will be financed in part by a $14 million grant from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration. The facility will facilitate research on commercial vehicles, such as trucks and transit vehicles, along with components that are used in those vehicles.

The board of trustees also selected David Baker Architects of Birmingham as the project architect for the Vehicle Research and Innovation Lab. The location of the lab has not been selected yet.