crash test

Crash Safety Research Facility

Located near the University Park Airport at the Larson Institute's Test Track Facility, the Institute's Crash Safety Research Facility is one of the few university-owned crash testing facilities in the United States.

A focal point for research pertaining to vehicle accidents, the facility provides researchers with the means to examine crash-related injuries and occupant safety issues; vehicle and highway apparatus design, testing, and analysis; and crash-related data and literature. The facility also offers educational and training opportunities for students, transportation officials, and the public.

Research facilities include a rail guidance system for full-scale crash testing; large- and small-scale pendulums for impact testing of vehicles, vehicle components, and highway structures; and advanced computer and sensor systems for high-speed data acquisition, vehicle impact simulation, and data analysis. The facilities, systems, and equipment enable researchers to test passenger vehicles, buses, and heavy vehicles for factors such as structural integrity and crashworthiness. The full-scale crash testing facilities give researchers the opportunity to investigate vehicle interaction with roadside barriers, lampposts, and signs.

In 2011, the Larson Institute's Crash Safety Research Team was granted American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).


The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute is Penn State’s transportation research center. Since its founding in 1968, the Larson Institute has maintained a threefold mission of research, education, and service. The Institute brings together top faculty, world-class facilities and enterprising students from across the University in partnership with public and private stakeholders to address critical transportation-related problems.

Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute

201 Transportation Research Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710