Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center

The Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center, located at 2237 Plank Road, Duncansville, Pennsylvania 16635, houses four bus maintenance and test bays and is fully equipped to perform heavy vehicle maintenance, testing, and repair. Facilities for testing and repairing vehicles that use gasoline, diesel fuel, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, methanol/ethanol, propane, hydrogen fuel cell and battery-powered electric have been in place since 1997.  

In addition to being the primary maintenance facility, the distortion, jacking, hoisting, reliability, and maintainability tests are performed at the Altoona Center. The remaining tests are performed at the Bus Research and Testing Facility at the Larson Institute Test Track, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. 

The Altoona Center also houses the administrative and accounting operations of the Bus Research and Testing Program.  

The Larson Institute Test Track 

The test track of the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, located at 164 Test Track Road, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823, includes a full-scale experimental highway that was designed in the early 1970s as a pavement durability research facility. It was expanded in 1989 with funding from the Federal Transit Administration to serve as an additional test facility for the Bus Research and Testing Program.  

The expansion, which included a vehicle test lane on the inside edge of the pavement durability lane, a handling area, two durability courses, and a brake slope, is referred to as the Bus Research and Testing Facility. It is at this facility that the safety, static and dynamic tow, durability, performance, interior noise, fuel economy/energy economy/range, emissions, reliability, exterior noise, and brake tests are performed.  

The test track facility is equipped to fuel gasoline, diesel, liquefied natural gas and methanol. Compressed natural gas and high-pressure hydrogen and propane are available from a fast-fill fueling facility located on campus. 

In 2004, a 10,000 square-footVehicle Research and Testing Laboratory funded by the Federal Transit Administration was completed adjacent to the test track. This laboratory provides additional vehicle test and maintenance bays and houses the vehicle emissions laboratory and large chassis dynamometer. 



Established in 1989 by the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute with funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration, the Larson Transportation Institute’s Bus Research and Testing Center tests buses for safety, structural integrity, durability, performance, maintainability, noise, emissions, energy economy, and fuel economy. Based primarily in Altoona, Pennsylvania, the Center also has a facility located at the Larson Transportation Institute Test Track in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.  

Bus Research and Testing Center

2237 Plank Road

Duncansville, PA 16635

Phone: 814-695-3404

Fax: 814-695-4069