Contra Costa Transportation Authority Joins Forces with Minnesota Department of Transportation to Expand Autonomous Vehicle Testing Opportunities
Press Release Issued by CCTA
Director, External Affairs
Contra Costa Transportation Authority
Walnut Creek, CA – October 8, 2020 – The Contra Costa Transportation Authority proudly announces a new partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation– an agency dedicated to advancing transportation technology research – to share knowledge and testing facilities in an effort to advance safer, smarter, more efficient transportation networks that not only benefit both California and Minnesota but can inform transportation technology implementation across the United States.
MnDOT’s Connected and Automated Vehicle team is actively working to advance research and deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems, Connected Vehicle applications, and Autonomous Vehicle technologies with the help of MnROAD–the state’s cold weather pavement testing facility. MnROAD has over 50 unique test sections on several roadways, including two 3.5-mile, high-speed corridors on Interstate 94 and a 2.5-mile, low-speed, closed access road. MnDOT also partners with Camp Ripley, a military and civilian training facility operated by the Minnesota National Guard, which has a 4.3-mile emergency vehicle operations course. With some of the most extreme weather conditions in the nation, Minnesota offers testing simulations that cannot be replicated elsewhere, which provides unique opportunities to test the safety features of CV and AV technologies.
Through this partnership, CCTA will have access to MnROAD facilities and likewise, MnDOT will have access to GoMentum Station in Concord, California – one of the largest secure connected and automated vehicle proving grounds in the country. GoMentum Station augments MnDOT’s testing with varied terrain, and real-life infrastructure including roads, bridges, tunnels, intersections, and parking lots provide the environment needed to accelerate testing of the first and last-mile applications, and the ability to safely test technology to its limits. CCTA also has many long-standing research and manufacturing partnerships that offer coordination opportunities for MnDOT.
“With this new collaboration, we’ll be able to test in conditions that just can’t be replicated here in Contra Costa,” stated Randy Iwasaki, Executive Director of CCTA. “Our partnership with a state agency like MnDOT will open new doors to shared research opportunities for a small agency like ours, and it’s exciting to be partnering with an agency that has similar goals in the arena of connected and automated vehicle technology.”
“Minnesota is excited to partner with one of the nation’s leading institutions in this work as we explore innovations in smart mobility, connected and automated vehicles, and how advancing technologies are impacting communities,” said Kristin White, MnDOT CAV-X Executive Director. “Through collaboration and information sharing, we’re committing to learning from CCTA, sharing best practices, and together advancing research that supports our regions and national goals. We believe this partnership can be a model for other regions to advance smart mobility.”
About the Contra Costa Transportation Authority
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. With a staff of twenty people managing a multi-billion-dollar suite of projects and programs, CCTA is responsible for planning, funding, and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.
Background on MnDOT CAV Program
MnDOT’s Connected and Automated Vehicle Office (CAV-X) was launched in 2018 and is now one of the nation’s leading tech startups and idea incubators within state government. Building off its strong history in Intelligent Transportation Systems research, CAV-X advances research, policy, planning, and strategy to help the Midwest prepare for the changes that advancing technologies will bring. This multi-disciplinary team combines the fields of law, policy, engineering, planning, and communications to develop strategic partnerships that advance the state’s goals to build a safe, equitable, accessible, healthy, and sustainable transportation system. CAV-X oversees over 100 projects in research, deployment, and development with more information found at mndot.gov/automated.
About GoMentum Station
GoMentum Station in Concord, California is owned and operated by AAA, and it is the autonomous vehicle testing facility where the Contra Costa Transportation Authority leads and facilitates collaborative partnerships among multiple automobile manufacturers; original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers; communications suppliers; technology companies; researchers and academia; public agencies and other partners. At GoMentum Station, technology, innovation, and commercialization will converge to define the next generation of transportation network infrastructure.