One of the largest private-sector providers of mobility services in North America, First Transit, has signed an agreement as the exclusive transit operator partner at California’s GoMentum Station transportation innovation testbed.
The GoMentum-First Transit partnership will foster research and innovation in the field of shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) applications and technology research. GoMentum Station in Concord, California, is a 5,000-acre test facility where the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) leads and facilitates a collaborative partnership among multiple partners to accelerate the next generation of transportation technologies. Named by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) as one of 10 federally designated automated vehicle proving grounds, GoMentum Station is the largest secure test track of its kind.
First Transit will join GoMentum Station and use the facility as a test site for innovative transit applications, including a pilot project with French company EasyMile and the CCTA to deploy the first SAV shuttle on public roads in the USA. The program will use EasyMile’s EZ10 autonomous electric shuttles, which can operate either on-demand or follow a set route, calling at multiple stations.
The EZ10 service aims to address problem of short distances between a transport hub and a final destination that are inconvenient for pedestrians. This pilot project, which began in late 2016, recently launched the second phase of testing at Bishop Ranch, an office park in San Ramon, California. First Transit is responsible for providing staffing, maintenance and operational support for the two SAV shuttles during the testing and deployment phases of the program.
“The partnership with GoMentum Station allows us to identify new mobility solutions for our customers using SAV technology,” explained Brad Thomas, president of First Transit. “We see the broad application of SAV technology as a great first- and last-mile solution, plus countless other transportation challenges.”
Randell Iwasaki, executive director of CCTA, commented, “As a leader in innovative transportation solutions, we are proud to have First Transit as one of our exclusive collaboration partners at GoMentum Station. The partnership with First Transit expands the international reach of GoMentum Station, and will provide a unique opportunity for multi-modal testing with a firm that specializes in transit operations. This will enable us to explore how automated vehicles can complement and enhance existing mobility options.”