ITE Journal - April 2020 - 41

begun to deploy these technologies. Reallocation of the majority
of the dedicated safety spectrum will likely slow or even halt these
deployment activities."
DOT conducted a preliminary technical assessment in
December which found that opening up the spectrum "defers
accident reduction for another 5 years, given time to develop,
standardize, and deploy equipment-either existing concepts in
different spectrum or new concepts in existing spectrum."17
Though the voices of the transportation industry and DOT
leaders were resoundingly clear in favor of preserving the spectrum,
in December, the FCC voted to move forward with a draft proposal.
Chairman Pai said that the spectrum has largely gone unused, and
that the proposed split "maximizes the value of the band for the
American people. And it would do far more for both automotive
safety and Wi-Fi than the status quo."18
FCC NPRM. When the official NPRM went out, the FCC
opened a 30-day public comment window on the matter.19 (As of
press time, the 30-day public comment window has closed.) ITE
issued a Call to Action, encouraging members to respond to the
FCC in support of saving the entire spectrum. "Reallocating this
safety spectrum at a time when 36,000 people are dying annually
on our nation's highways and CAV technology is just emerging in
the marketplace is shortsighted," ITE stated.20 ITE also provided
suggested language for members wanting to submit public
comment to the FCC by the March 9 deadline.
Several negative consequences may result from the reallocation of the safety spectrum. The National Cooperative Highway
Research Program (NCHRP) warns in a fact sheet that opening
up the spectrum may halt the development of safety-oriented V2X
applications. "State DOTs who have actively pursued pilot and
long-term deployments will be forced to reassess 'what is possible'
under a new environment...And potential automotive and private
sector partners may disappear in a constricted spectrum scenario,
which could shift the burden of development costs more onto the
state DOTs."21
The safety communication applications that do exist on
the spectrum may be unreliable if the band is compressed by
unlicensed traffic, and states which have allocated funding toward
CAV deployment may see those dollars deferred if the spectrum
is reallocated. In addition, a decade of momentum in the 5.9 GHz
spectrum may be lost, and automated vehicles might continue to
develop without the critical "systems approach" of V2X connectivity.
ITE continues to stand with its partner organizations, USDOT,
local and state DOTs, and industry leaders on the case for
preserving the safety spectrum. ITE sent its public response to the
FCC's NPRM on March 6, 2020, reiterating its position that the
safety spectrum must not be compromised in order to continue
developing and deploying lifesaving communications technologies.22 (See sidebar on page 42.)

Ultimately, adding possible interference to the spectrum
could come down to life or death on our nation's roads. As Diana
Furchtgott-Roth, USDOT deputy assistant secretary, said during
a presentation at the 2020 Transportation Research Board annual
meeting in Washington, DC, USA, "these new technologies depend
on clear wireless signals that can help cars avoid accidents in the
smallest fraction of a second. Sometimes even a fraction of a second
wait means the difference between life and death, or between safety
and harm."23 itej

Acknowledgement
ITE would like to extend thanks to Steve Kuciemba (M) for
assisting with this article.

References
1.	 U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration. "2018 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview." October
2019. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/roadway-fatalities-2018-fars
(Accessed March 2, 2020).
2.	 King, Heidi R. "Traffic Safety and the 5.9 GHz Spectrum." Speech, USDOT
Headquarters, Washington, DC, USA, June 3, 2019. https://www.nhtsa.
gov/speeches-presentations/traffic-safety-and-59-ghz-spectrum
(Accessed March 2, 2020).
3.	 Chao, Elaine L. Elaine Chao to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, November 20, 2019.
Letter. https://www.highways.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/secchao-letter-5.9-11-20-19.pdf (Accessed March 2, 2020).
4.	 House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Members of the
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to the FCC, January 22,
2020. Letter. https://transportation.house.gov/imo/media/doc/2020-0122%20Full%20TI%20Letter%20to%20FCC.pdf (Accessed March 2, 2020).
5.	 Pai, Ajit. "Remarks of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at the Wi-Fi World Congress
2019." Tysons Corner, VA, USA, May 14, 2019. https://docs.fcc.gov/public/
attachments/DOC-357456A1.pdf (Accessed March 2, 2020).
6.	 Pai, Ajit. "Remarks of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at The National Union
Building," Washington, DC, USA, November 20, 2019. https://docs.fcc.gov/
public/attachments/DOC-360918A1.pdf (Accessed March 2, 2020).
7.	 Cain, Hilary M. Hilary Cain to FCC Secretary Marlene Dortch, April 26, 2019.
Letter. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/596fb16003596e0fa70a232f/
t/5cc36cda0d92970826c3655b/1556311258955/4-262019+Toyota+FCC+Comment.pdf (Accessed March 2, 2020).
8.	 U.S. Department of Transportation. "Preserving the 5.9GHZ Safety Band
for Transportation." February 21, 2020. PowerPoint Presentation. https://
www.transportation.gov/research-and-technology/preserving-59ghzsafety-band-transportation-0 (Accessed March 2, 2020).
9.	 Safety Pilot. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
http://safetypilot.umtri.umich.edu (Accessed March 2, 2020).
10.	 Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program. Intelligent Transportation
Systems Joint Program Office. https://www.its.dot.gov/pilots (Accessed
March 2, 2020).
w w w .i t e.or g

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https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/roadway-fatalities-2018-fars https://www.nhtsa.gov/speeches-presentations/traffic-safety-and-59-ghz-spectrum https://www.nhtsa.gov/speeches-presentations/traffic-safety-and-59-ghz-spectrum https://www.highways.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/sec-chao-letter-5.9-11-20-19.pdf https://www.highways.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/sec-chao-letter-5.9-11-20-19.pdf https://transportation.house.gov/imo/media/doc/2020-01- 22%20Full%20TI%20Letter%20to%20FCC.pdf https://transportation.house.gov/imo/media/doc/2020-01- 22%20Full%20TI%20Letter%20to%20FCC.pdf https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-357456A1.pdf https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-357456A1.pdf https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-360918A1.pdf https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-360918A1.pdf https://static1.squarespace.com/static/596fb16003596e0fa70a232f/t/5cc36cda0d92970826c3655b/1556311258955/4-26-2019+Toyota+FCC+Comment.pdf https://static1.squarespace.com/static/596fb16003596e0fa70a232f/t/5cc36cda0d92970826c3655b/1556311258955/4-26-2019+Toyota+FCC+Comment.pdf https://static1.squarespace.com/static/596fb16003596e0fa70a232f/t/5cc36cda0d92970826c3655b/1556311258955/4-26-2019+Toyota+FCC+Comment.pdf https:// www.transportation.gov/research-and-technology/preserving-59ghzsafety- band-transportation-0 https:// www.transportation.gov/research-and-technology/preserving-59ghzsafety- band-transportation-0 https:// www.transportation.gov/research-and-technology/preserving-59ghzsafety- band-transportation-0 http://safetypilot.umtri.umich.edu https://www.its.dot.gov/pilots http://www.ite.org

ITE Journal - April 2020

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