New Mexico Launches Mobility Business Strategy
11 May 2021
Implementation Begins in Gallup for I-40 Mobility Hub
May 1, 2021 Scottsdale, Arizona Late last year, GLDPartners Mobility Solutions completed a Statewide Mobility Strategy for the State of New Mexico and since that time quite a lot has happened toward advancing the State as a US leader in the mobility sector. Launched in 2019, with direction from members of the State Legislature and the Governor’s Administration, the Mobility Strategy was developed with an intent to create an integrated business plan to support economic development, research and development and citizen safety. The statewide mobility strategy represents a first for a US state to complete a boundary-to-boundary business plan for comprehensively supporting the development of the mobility industry.
The New Mexico Mobility Strategy boldly proposed that the entire state be developed as a “mobility laboratory”. Considering an entire state as a setting for developing and deploying next-generation people and cargo movement technologies would be groundbreaking and position New Mexico as a leading setting for research and development, component production and real-world mobility services. The Mobility Strategy included a series of recommendations including a focus on regulatory/policy clarifications, development of new specialized infrastructure, creating a range of business partnerships and standing-up on and off-road testing and development corridors/hubs. The emphasis is to utilize the State’s extensive interstate highway network with new urban mobility hubs that would be developed in Albuquerque, Gallup and Las Cruces/Santa Teresa.
As the first delivery element of the Strategy, in the most recent legislative session the New Mexico Legislature passed a bipartisan bill authorizing the testing of self-driving vehicles. Led by Representative Patty Lundstrom (Gallup) and sponsored by five colleagues from various areas of the state, House Bill 270 supports mobility testing on the State’s public roads by clarifying and streamlining requirements. The NM Department of Transportation will develop rules and regulations for autonomous vehicles so those used in the State meet federal standards and operate in compliance with applicable traffic laws. The law also allows for the deployment of truck platooning which can have the effect of increasing road capacity and reducing air emissions.
Rep. Lundstrom observed “This legislation makes it clear that the mobility industry is welcome in our State, and New Mexico wishes to be a partner to develop and deploy new technologies. This smart legislation provides an exciting new economic opportunity for the State and sets up in statute the State’s partnership with this emerging industry as it develops and grows.” The State’s elected officials have recognized that as this industry evolves, it can create good paying jobs and build an environmentally friendly transportation sector. Revolutionary changes like electrification and automation are poised to transform the people and goods movement mobility and there is global competition to determine where these advanced vehicle technology products will be built. Rep. Harry Garcia (Grants) added “New Mexico has a unique opportunity to be a national leader in this emerging industry. By allowing testing to take place in New Mexico, we’re encouraging the companies developing these technologies to increase their presence here, fostering a potentially strong economic driver for our State.” Rep. Hochman-Vigil (Albuquerque) further explained “huge companies, from Amazon to Tesla to General Motors, are investing in research surrounding driverless cars, and New Mexico cannot afford to be behind the eight ball in this innovative new industry.”
Gallup Initiative Leads - In its effort to establish New Mexico as a mobility technology center, the Mobility Strategy is being launched in the Gallup region with the development of the Gallup Region Mobility Investment District. GLDPartners is working with the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation, City of Gallup and the State of New Mexico on the Investment District. Led by Rep. Patty Lundstrom as the Executive Director of the GGEDC, a plan has been set-out with the US Economic Development Administration to establish a specialty mobility hub centered around the Gallup Airport.
Due to its strategic location along I-40, specialized infrastructure and assets will be developed to support heavy and light truck research and development now, and deployment in the near future. Centered along I-40 and around the Gallup Municipal Airport, the Gallup Mobility Investment District will support both truck autonomy and advanced propulsion system development and offers an ecosystem that includes the following:
- Closed course research and product development complex
- Development of an on road in-District product technology testing environment
- Terminus hub for a State-designated I-40 Mobility Testing Corridor
- Sites for product assembly and component manufacturing adjacent to testing and development infrastructure
- I-40 Truck Mobility Complex, functioning as over the road strategic hub for cross-county autonomous trucks and for trucks powered by alternative propulsion systems
In her role as economic development leader for the region, Rep. Lundstrom clearly understands the endgoal of this project, “Positioning New Mexico as a premier location for this industry will attract companies to start, scale and commercialize technologies and then those technologies can be leveraged to improve pedestrian and driver safety and the lives of New Mexico residents.”
Further development of the New Mexico Mobility Laboratory is envisioned to occur throughout the State, with specialty emphasis hubs in Albuquerque and in Southern New Mexico in the Las Cruces-Santa Teresa border region.
- As the largest urban hub in the State, Albuquerque’s central location and connected highway network positions it well to support truck and passenger vehicle equipment development and transport services. The region is located at the intersection of I-40 and I-25, with a complex extensive urban roadway network and an extraordinarily deep well of engineering expertise offering an extremely high ratio of technologists and engineers.
- In the Las Cruces-Santa Teresa border region, the mobility specialty will be orientated around cargo handling due to its rich strategic logistics setting that includes: 1) I-10/I-25 intersection, 2) unique two-state same-day setting (at the Texas boundary), 3) international cargo crossing, 4) new rail intermodal facility, and 5) a developing cargo airport serving the Southern New MexicoEl Paso-Ciudad Juarez market.