Safety and Connected Vehicles

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

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.

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.  

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. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking to establish a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for V2V, begining the rulemaking process this year.  A stakeholder group supported by the Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) , the V2I Deployment Coalition, is working with road infrastructure operators on deployment plans for traffic control systems.   


NEWS FLASH! - White House announces that USDOT will proceed with establishing a motor vehicle safety standard for Connected Vehicle, along with guidance on Autonomous Vehicles - See White House Fact Sheet, September, 19, 2016  - ITS America's Press Release on Automated Vehicle Policy and V2V Rule Release

ITS America's Comments to the Federal Communications Commission on DSRC and Spectrum Sharing in response to June 1, 2016 Public Notice (FCC 16-68)

 Joint Comments - ITS America, Alliance of Automobile Manufacterers, and Global Automakers, July 7, 2016

Joint Reply Comments, ITS America, Alliance of Automobile Manufacterers and Global Automakers July 22, 2016

Individual Comments - ITS America, July 7, 2016

Individual Reply Comments,  ITS America,  July 22, 2016

Public Knowledge and the New America Foundation petitioned the FCC for an emergency stay to “immediately prohibit use of DSRC until the FCC adopts service rules protecting the cybersecurity and privacy of DSRC users –and DSRC operators demonstrate compliance with those rules. 

Joint ITS America, Alliance of Automobile Manufacterers and Global Automakers Opposition to the Petition for Rulemaking and Emergency Stay, August 25, 2016

SAVE THE SAFETY SPECTRUM!  Let the FCC and the White House Know How You Feel!

 The American Automobile Association, The National Safety Council, Global Automakers and ITS America, are asking you to make your voice's heard!  See the Video!  Click here to learn more!

 Read The New York Times Editorial Board - Lessons from the Tesla Crash, July 11, 2016  

"And the agency [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] needs to hasten development of a communications system it has been working on for several years that would allow cars to transmit their location, speed and other data to one another. If that system had been in place, Mr. Brown might have survived."

The NHTSA Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications proposed motor vehicle safety standard vehicle is held up a at the White House and undergoing review. It was estimated to be released in May 2016  -more to come!  (See NHTSA Docket RIN 2127-AL55)


Letter to President Obama on efforts to develop a spectrum sharing solution for vehicle Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) with members of the WiFi community  (May 4, 2016 ITS America/Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers/Association of Global Automaker )

Cable-WiFi Broadband April 28, 2016 Coalition Letter to President Obama advocating reconfiguration of DSRC band for WiFi use.

Release of the  ITS America/Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers/Association of Global Automakers DSRC Myth vs. Fact Sheet

ITS America White House V2V Fact Sheet

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 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.

Additional Resources


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

Federal Registration Publication 5 GHz NPRM


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)


Steven H. Bayless, Vice President, Technology and Markets


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.


Next major challenge. As you may be aware, Public Knowledge and the New America Foundation petitioned the FCC for an emergency stay to “immediately prohibit use of DSRC until the FCC adopts service rules protecting the cybersecurity and privacy of DSRC users –and DSRC operators demonstrate compliance with those rules. This petition is being considered now by the FCC, and the FCC has asked for comment, due August 22.   We’ll update you on our efforts to defeat this petition.   

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