SAN RAMON, CA – On Tuesday, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and GoMentum Station announced that permission was granted and testing of shared autonomous vehicles on public roads will begin at Bishop Ranch, the largest mixed-use business community in Northern California located in the city of San Ramon. This is the first time the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has allowed a shared autonomous vehicle to travel on public roads in the state.
CCTA is leading a pilot demonstration project testing electric, low-speed, multi-passenger autonomous vehicles manufactured by EasyMile, that are not equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal, or accelerator. The California State Legislature passed pioneering legislation in 2016, Assembly Bill 1592, to allow for the pilot program. After successful testing at the GoMentum Station autonomous vehicle proving grounds in Concord, California and in parking lots at Bishop Ranch, CCTA is advancing to the third phase of testing. CCTA received permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in October 2017 and permission from the California DMV in January 2018, to operate the EasyMile shuttle on public streets within the business park.
“We will look back on the issuance of this permit as a turning point for autonomous vehicle technology in the great state of California,” said CCTA Executive Director Randell Iwasaki. “It is a huge step forward for safely developing a solution to the challenges that prevent people from using public transportation and will transform how we travel in Contra Costa and beyond.”
“We are excited to celebrate this milestone with CCTA and Bishop Ranch,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “The California DMV has been working for years to bring this groundbreaking technology to California’s roadways while ensuring safety of the motoring public.”
Shared autonomous shuttles offer safe, accessible service that could soon provide first- and last-mile transit solutions in office parks, campuses, suburbs, and town centers. Zero-emission, low-speed autonomous shuttles have the potential to ease congestion, reduce harmful emissions, and provide safe and affordable access to transportation hubs throughout Contra Costa County.
“Bishop Ranch has always been a site for innovation in Northern California,” said Sunset Development CEO Alexander Mehran, Sr. “By granting approval to test EasyMile shuttles on the public roads which bisect through the Bishop Ranch business community, the DMV is enabling us to continue to support innovation that stands to benefit the entire region.”
As CCTA moves to the third phase of testing, members of the general public will not be able to ride the shared autonomous vehicles on public streets. The vehicles are currently staffed by trained testers. It is anticipated that during the upcoming year, additional predetermined testers and evaluators chosen from employees of various employers within Bishop Ranch will be able to ride the vehicles as they traverse public streets within the business park.
The permission for the EasyMile shuttles from the California DMV is separate from their autonomous vehicle testing program that has been underway since 2014.
About GoMentum Station
GoMentum Station in Concord, California is where the Contra Costa Transportation Authority leads and facilitates a collaborative partnership 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. More information about GoMentum Station is available at gomentumstation.net.
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.
About Bishop Ranch
Bishop Ranch, owned and operated by Sunset Development Company, is built on a legacy of sound planning and smart growth. Located on 585 acres in the San Ramon Valley, it is the largest mixed-use business community in Northern California. For nearly four decades, Bishop Ranch has continually and carefully grown to become a dynamic center for the modern business.