California’s Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) has been awarded a US$7.5m grant from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to support a four-year Automated Driving System (ADS) pilot program for three real-world demonstration projects.
US Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L Chao has announced nearly US$60m in federal grant funding to eight projects in seven states to test the safe integration of automated vehicles on the country’s roadways. The eight new ADS projects aim to gather significant safety data to inform rulemaking and foster collaboration amongst state and local government and private partners, helping the USA prepare for the future widespread introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) on the road network.
The CCTA will share data from the three ADS demonstration projects with the USDOT in a testing program that was designed in collaboration with the American Automobile Association of Northern California, Nevada and Utah (AAA NCNU), County Connection, Advanced Mobility Group, and other public and private sector partnerships in the San Francisco Bay Area metropolitan region.
The CCTA’s ADS testing program contains three separate projects:
- Rossmoor First Mile/Last Mile Shared Autonomous Vehicles – will trial increased transit accessibility options for the elderly community in Walnut Creek using shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs). Data gathered will be used to develop safety performance measures.
- County Hospital Accessible Transportation – will provide an on-demand, autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle service with a self-docking wheelchair apparatus for patients at the County Hospital in Martinez who do not have transportation. The project will gather data to develop safety performance measures and to provide accessible transportation to public health facilities, improving quality of life and reducing medical appointment absenteeism.
- Personal Mobility on I-680 Corridor – will prepare the Interstate 680 corridor for future use by CAVs. The project will install new and upgraded vehicle-to- infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies such as DSRC (Dedicated Short-Range Communications) and 4G/5G cellular communication networks, to accommodate both CAV technology and implementation of innovative operational strategies.
The ADS program builds on the success of the CCTA’s ongoing CAV Program. As cofounder of GoMentum Station, one of the USA’s largest secure testing facilities for CAV technology, CCTA and its partners have successfully advanced automation to improve vehicle safety and address challenges related to the safe integration of self-driving systems.
“This important grant is exciting news for Bay Area communities and for American innovation, enabling key initiatives that will pave the way for new mobility options and transportation benefits for underserved communities in our great state,” said California congresswoman and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. “Building on previous autonomous vehicle testing advancements at Contra Costa Transportation Authority, these federal investments for vitally-needed data will be critical in developing strong safety performance metrics, which must be at the forefront of autonomous vehicle testing and integration.”
CCTA executive director, Randell Iwasaki, said, “The ADS program is based on the actual needs and concerns of the community searching for solutions to mobility challenges. We need to integrate advanced technologies, innovative solutions, new partnerships and creative ideas to support the next generation of mobility.”