Secretary Pete Buttigieg previews the future at Concord’s GoMentum Station

Secretary Pete Buttigieg previews the future at Concord's GoMentum Station
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took a walking tour of Concord’s GoMentum Station earlier this month. He was joined by outgoing NHTSA Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff, Mayor Tim McGallian and others. (Photos courtesy Contra Costa Transportation Authority/Karl Nielsen )

CONCORD, CA (Sept. 27, 2022) — The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and its partners welcomed several of the nation’s highest-ranking transportation officials earlier this month.

Visitors included U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and outgoing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff. The pair took a tour of GoMentum Station in Concord, California on Sept. 9.

The groundbreaking site stands out as one of the country’s largest secure facilities dedicated to testing transportation technology, including connected and automated vehicles.

Concord Councilmember Tim McGallian said, “It was an honor to welcome US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to Concord for his visit to GoMentum Station. The facility represents the vision for tomorrow’s transportation innovations that will change the world. It is being tested and developed right here in Concord.”

A mini-city

GoMentum Station resides on a 5,000–acre former naval weapons station. It features more than 20 miles of paved roadway. The facility includes two 1400-foot tunnels; curbs, gutters, and sidewalks; railroad crossings and potholes. Complete with a smart signal lab, this mini-city can support multimodal testing. The CCTA founded the station while management falls to AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah. The unique test bed provides an opportunity for test partners to push their technology to its limits while testing within a controlled environment.

McGallian added, “The City of Concord is actively pursuing federal grants with the US Department of Transportation, like Safe Street for All, Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, and the upcoming SMART (Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation) grant programs. We appreciate our partnership with Secretary Buttigieg and his staff in pursuing these grant opportunities to help us improve our transportation technology and equipment.”

During the visit, Secretary Buttigieg and Administrator Cliff toured the different test zones and participate in demonstrations. Built on a public/private partnership model, GoMentum Station allows the private sector space to innovate and test. At the same time, it gives the public sector access to new technologies currently under development. The work carried out at GoMentum Station facilitates informs policy, regulation, and planning decisions around technology.

Preparing for future roadways

“The Contra Costa Transportation Authority is looking beyond transportation solutions to prepare for our future roadways and mobility,” states Chris Kelley, CCTA Board Chair.  “Our vision for the future centers on using emerging technologies and public-private partnerships to meet changing and future transportation demands, help our residents safely get where they need to go, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Contra Costa County.”

In 2019, USDOT awarded CCTA  a $7.5 million Automated Driving Systems grant to conduct three groundbreaking pilot projects. The projects address current mobility needs while advancing standards for automated driving systems in the US. They then gather essential data on performance and safety measures with CCTA’s partners at GoMentum Station.

Facilitating research and the advancement of transportation technology to improve safety drives the management team at GoMentum Station. “At GoMentum Station, AAA NCNU collaborates with automakers, technology companies, and local governments to ensure new technologies are integrated safely into our transportation system,” said Matt Alfano, Vice President of Mobility Innovation for AAA NCNU. “We believe the testing happening at GoMentum today could save lives tomorrow.”

The passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and 50% increase to NHTSA’s budget, will enable NHTSA to make its largest investment into vehicle and highway traffic safety. Transportation technology has a role to play in increasing the safety of all road users, and today’s tour highlighted how test beds like GoMentum Station can be an instrumental tool in making that future a reality.

About the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and GoMentum Station

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. Visit their website to learn more.

GoMentum offers a range of road features and testing services. This includes test plan development, equipment rental, and a vehicle to everything (V2X) lab for testing connected technologies. Visit their website for more information.