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Status Report, Vol. 50, No. 10 | December 10, 2015 Subscribe

IIHS expansion makes room for new research

Aerial view

An aerial view of the expanded test center in Ruckersville, Va. The expansion includes a 5-acre covered track, enlarged upper track, two trackside buildings and a new office building. The project was completed in fall 2015.

Car on covered track

The covered track allows IIHS engineers to conduct vehicle evaluations like this autobrake test in all kinds of weather. It is one of the largest fabric-covered structures in North America. Six fabric panels attached to steel trusses arc over the track and are supported by 18 concrete piers.

Upper track

The enlarged upper test track and covered track give IIHS 15 acres of dedicated space to conduct maneuvers and tests.


The new three-story front office building accommodates staff and provides new conference space.

Haddon lobby quote

A quote from William Haddon Jr., M.D., IIHS president from 1969-85, graces the lobby of the new building. "It is time for society to decide to promote and demand nothing less than vehicle packages and roadside environments that protect people."

Bel Air

John Xu (left), HLDI Board chairman, and Greg Meyer (right), IIHS Board member, inspect the 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air on display in the lobby. IIHS crash tested the Bel Air for the Institute's 50th anniversary celebration in 2009.

Morrill Center

A new conference center is dedicated to Thomas C. Morrill of State Farm Insurance, an IIHS Board member from 1959 to 1977.

Display hall

A life-size diagram of a vehicle illustrating the locations of crash avoidance sensors is among the exhibits in the display hall.


IIHS-HLDI President Adrian Lund (left) talks with NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind (right) at the expansion celebration in September 2015.

Headlight test

A headlight demonstration test is conducted for visitors during the expansion celebration.

Photo studio

A guest walks by the facility's state-of-the-art photo studio.

Crash test

Guests view a small overlap front test of a 2015 Ram 1500 Crew Cab pickup in the crash hall.

Guests outside

Raul Arbelaez, vice president of the IIHS Vehicle Research Center, briefs guests.


Guests and staff enjoy lunch on the covered track before the expansion celebration program.


W. Neal Menefee, IIHS Board chairman, is interviewed by a reporter.

IIHS and its member companies this fall celebrated the completion of a $30 million expansion of the Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Va., which will enable IIHS to evaluate crash avoidance technologies year-round.

The centerpiece is a 5-acre covered track, one of the largest fabric-covered structures in the United States. Six fabric panels supported by steel trusses arc over the 700-foot-by-300-foot track and are supported by 18 concrete piers, which weigh a total of 7,000 tons and contain more than 39 miles of steel reinforcement bars.

An existing outdoor track was expanded, bringing the total area of track, including the covered section, to 15 acres. A new office and conference space also was part of the project.

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