The recent completion of the Transportation Research Center automotive research and testing complex is already drawing attention to Merced County from auto manufacturers.

Construction of a 2.2-mile oval test track, a one-mile city course and two large vehicle dynamics areas, has transformed a portion of the former Castle Airforce Base into a world-class testing facility.

 With these latest developments – phase one of a long-term expansion plan – TRC California offers vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and innovators a range of specialized test facilities that replicate real-world highway, rural and urban driving scenarios. These improvements allow for the safe testing and refinement of autonomous vehicle technologies and other advanced vehicle systems.

 Construction of the 225-acre site began in May 2021 when Merced County officials entered into a long-term management agreement for the facility with TRC, an Ohio-based leader in automotive testing and innovation. The expansion project cost $2.1 million.

 “These improvements have already sparked increased interest from automotive innovators on the West Coast and beyond who are coming here to Merced County to perfect their advanced technologies,” said Daron McDaniel, Chairman of the Merced County Board of Supervisors, whose district includes TRC California and the Castle Commerce Center. “The future of transportation is being developed in our backyards and it’s bringing an important boost in job growth and economic development for our entire region.”

Brett Roubinek, president and CEO of TRC Inc., said: “This is just the beginning of our plans to partner with Merced County in transforming TRC California to become a comprehensive, one-stop shop for automotive technology and mobility innovators. With its close proximity to Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay area and all of the West Coast’s technology centers, TRC California is fast becoming the go-to site for transportation innovators to test and affirm their world-changing technologies.”

With phase one expansion projects completed, TRC California’s facilities and specialist staffing will continue to expand as TRC Inc. completes the build-out of additional testing capabilities and services, especially those geared toward research on electrification and autonomous and connected vehicles.