Safety and Connected Vehicles

The Connected Vehicle - Crash Avoidance and the Benefits to Transportation Safety, Mobility and the Economy

Connected vehicle technology and other intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are transforming safety and mobility on our nation’s roadways. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in coordination with major automakers and other public and private sector innovators, has been working to advance vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technology to help prevent traffic crashes before they happen.  Congestion and crashes cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year. 

This advanced technology is near deployment on our nation's highways. In August 2012, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), U.S. DOT and major automakers began conducting the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot in Ann Arbor, Mich., in which nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and transit buses have been equipped with Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) radio devices to collect V2V and V2I performance data. The deployment will test the effectiveness of connected vehicle safety applications for reducing crashes, and show how drivers respond to these technologies while operating a vehicle in a real-world, multi-modal environment. This data will be used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to inform an expected regulatory decision in late 2013 for new light-duty vehicles, and in 2014 for new heavy-duty vehicles. That decision will be a major milestone in the broad scale implementation of V2V and V2I communications systems in the United States.

ITS America supports cooperative research programs like the Connected Vehicle initiative which hold the potential to significantly improve transportation safety, mobility, economic competitiveness and the environment.  

The Spectrum Crunch and the 5 GHz band

Policymakers have begun exploring areas of underutilized spectrum that could be opened up to help alleviate the looming spectrum shortage. The Federal Communciation Commissions's (FCC) National Broadband Plan of 2010 identified the need to make 500 megahertz of spectrum newly available for broadband within 10 years, of which 300 megahertz should be made available for mobile use within five years.  In the plan, The FCC recommened that within the next 10 years, should free up a new, contiguous nationwide band for unlicensed use.

Following these recommendations, the U.S. Congress last year passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which among other things directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to examine the potential for spectrum sharing in the 5.4 GHz and 5.9 GHz bands. The law asked NTIA to evaluate “known and proposed spectrum-sharing technologies” and the potential risks if unlicensed devices are permitted to operate in that band.

On January 25, 2013, the NTIA issued its initial report on the potential use of up to 195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band by Unlicensed-National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices. The report expressed concern about the potential risks associated with introducing a substantial number of new, unlicensed devices into the 5.9 GHz band without proper safeguards, and agreed with concerns expressed by ITS America and our partners that further analysis is needed to determine whether and how the multiple risk factors could be mitigated.

ITS America Promotes Safety First

ITS America is asking FCC officials to allow for due diligence by ensuring that any timelines contained in a proposed rulemaking relating to the 5.9 GHz band are consistent with the NTIA schedule for completing its quantitative evaluation and issuing final recommendations regarding the potential for spectrum sharing in the 5.9 GHz band. Furthermore, ITS America is requesting that any determination by the FCC does not precede a decision by U.S. DOT regarding implementation of a connected vehicle network.

ITS America, along with major automakers, safety advocates and transportation officials from across the country, are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect the 5.9 GHz band of spectrum which was set aside for the development of connected vehicle technology from potentially harmful interference that could result from allowing unlicensed Wi-Fi-based devices to operate in the band. The Wi-Fi expansion plan was announced by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at the International Consumer Electronics Show on January 9, 2013, with additional details to be announced at the FCC’s February 20, 2013 open meeting. The 5.9 GHz band was allocated by the FCC for development of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technology which the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates could potentially address 80 percent of unimpaired crash scenarios, saving thousands of lives each year.

ITS America supports efforts to identify spectrum that may be utilized to expand Wi-Fi applications. But with over 30,000 deaths on our nation's roads every year, we also believe it is critical that efforts to open up additional spectrum do not come at the expense of revolutionary life-saving technologies. The U.S. DOT, automakers and high-tech leaders have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to develop connected vehicle technology based on the availability of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band. We are at the cusp of it becoming reality, and we owe it to the American taxpayers to protect their investment and see this life-saving innovation through to implementation.

Learn more about the Connected Vehicle Program and other ITS telecommunciations policy issues visit our TELECOMMUNCIATION ADVOCACY PAGE and our ITS AMERICA CONNECTED VEHICLE TASK FORCE PAGE.

Additional Resources

PUBLICATIONS

ITS America's Comments in response to the FCC's NPRM (May 29, 2013)

Federal Registration Publication 5 GHz NPRM


LETTERS 

ITS America's Letter to the Federal Communications Commission (February 12, 2013)

ITS America's Letter to the Department of Commerce - National Telecommunciations and Information Administration (NTIA) (January 10, 2013)

 

PRESS STATEMENTS AND BLOGS

ITS America Statement on FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Spectrum Sharing in the 5 GHz Band (February 20, 2013)

The Time is NOW – Fighting for the Future of Roadway Safety (Scott Belcher, Better Roads Blog)

Transportation Community Voices Concern Over Potential Risk to Next Generation Vehicle Safety Technology (February 12, 2013)

ITS America Statement on FCC Proposed Rulemaking (January 10, 2012)

Need to Analyze Risks of 5.9 GHz Spectrum Sharing (Scott Belcher, ITS International)


MEDIA COVERAGE

FCC Ruling Could Set Connected Cars and Wi-Fi on Collision Course  (WIRED)

F.C.C. Moves to Ease Wireless Congestion  (New York Times)

FCC moves to free up nation's Wi-Fi networks   (SF Gate, Tech Chronicles Blog)

FCC moves ahead with opening spectrum to move Wi-Fi  (Detroit News)

U.S. FCC's spectrum proposal seeks to ease Wi-Fi congestion  (Reuters)

FCC moves to free airwaves for better WiFi   (Washington Post)

LightSquared’s Ghost Raised in Fight Over Talking Cars  (Bloomberg)

FCC’s Wi-Fi Expansion Could Threaten Connected Vehicle Technology  (Governing)

FCC becoming a leader in unintended consequences  (Fierce Broadband Wireless)

Wi-Fi expansion could harm smart car wireless network, automakers say  (Ars Technica)

Automakers urge FCC not to hinder vehicle crash avoidance program  (Detroit News)

Wi-Fi expansion plan has automakers worried over the connected car’s future (GigaOm.com)


SUPPORT FOR ITS AMERICA

Signatories of ITS America's February 12 letter to the Federal Communications Commission.

 Associations  Public Sector  Private Sector

AAA

California Department of Transportation

AECOM

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

Florida Department of Transportation

Arada Systems

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

Maricopa County Department of Transportation

CH2M HILL

American Highway Users Alliance

Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Chrysler Group, LLC

American Public Transportation Association

Michigan Department of Transportation

DENSO International America

American Traffic Safety Services Association

MTA Bridges and Tunnels

Digital Traffic Systems, Inc. 

Association of Global Automakers, Inc.

North County Transit District

 
Eberle Design Inc.

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

Ridesharing Institute

Econolite Group Inc.

Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

Road Commission for Oakland County

G4 Apps, Inc.

The E-ZPass Group

Scottsdale Traffic Management Center

Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc.

Institute of Transportation Engineers

Texas Department of Transportation

 

Image Sensing Systems, Inc.

International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association

University of California, Berkeley (California PATH)

Iteris, Inc.

ITS Canada

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Kapsch TrafficCom North America

ITS Florida

Washington State Department of Transportation

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC

ITS Michigan

  MTS LLC

 

ITS New Mexico


  Nakanishi Research & Consulting, LLC

 

OmniAir Consortium


  Parsons Brinkerhoff 

 

Transportation for America


  Peracchio & Company

 

VII Consortium


  PRC Associates 


  Richard J. Weiland


  Robert Bosch LLC 


   SAIC


  Savari Networks


  SRA, Inc.


  T. Russell Shields


  TransCore


  Turner Engineering Corporation
    Vehicast LLC


  Visteon Corporation


  Volvo Group North America


  Willow, LLC


  Xerox State and Local Solutions

 

ITS America's Advocacy Contacts

Paul Feenstra, Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs

Steven H. Bayless, Senior Director, Telecommunications and Telematics

Quentin Kelly,  Vice President for Legislative Affairs

 

 
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