ITS America leads calls for Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to direct the FCC to reconsider 5.9GHz spectrum sharing


ITS America has joined forces with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and 41 other manufacturing groups and industry associations to lobby the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to require the FCC to reconsider 5.9GHz spectrum sharing, in advance of Wednesday’s (24 June 2020) FCC oversight hearing.

A letter submitted to the committee reads, in part: “We write to express significant concern with efforts underway at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reallocate spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band away from transportation safety. Reducing the amount of spectrum available to Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technologies undermines our shared interest in reducing the number of traffic fatalities and injuries that occur each year on US roadways, improving motor vehicle safety, and improving the operational performance of roadways by reducing congestion across the transportation system. Such a decision would also harm US global competitiveness with respect to next-generation automotive safety technologies. We ask you to use the Committee’s authority over the FCC to direct the Commission to reconsider the approach in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that reallocates spectrum within the 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed uses.

“USDOT and public and private sector transportation stakeholders have worked together to bring [V2X] technology to the US market. Billions of dollars – including at least $2 billion in public funding from federal, state, and local governments – have been invested in the development and deployment of V2X technology. The result of US innovation and investment in V2X is now shown through existing and planned deployments around the country.

“Unfortunately, since 2013, the FCC has been threatening to repurpose spectrum away from these cutting-edge transportation safety technologies and has now released a NPRM to reduce the spectrum that is available to V2X technologies. The FCC’s proposed rule would reallocate the majority of the 5.9 GHz band away from transportation safety. Numerous technical assessments related to the FCC’s proposal, including preliminary assessments released by USDOT, show that out-of-channel interference from unlicensed devices operating in adjacent bands would be likely to make the spectrum reserved for transportation safety communications unusable for such purposes. This interference would delay or block safety-critical messages where split-second action is required to avert a crash.

“The United States has led the world in creating V2X technologies and in developing the standards that enable and support V2X technologies. The FCC’s proposal would cede American leadership as countries around the world are building out their V2X networks. There is no doubt that, if implemented, the NPRM would undercut the public and private investments that have been made in the United States, stifle further innovation, and challenge American global competitiveness. This approach is in direct conflict with efforts underway in other parts of the world. At precisely the same time that other countries are reiterating their commitment to V2X technologies and, in many cases, looking to increase the amount of spectrum that is available to support V2X technologies, the FCC is poised to take action that would all but ensure that these technologies would not realise their full potential in the United States.

“The comments and reply comments submitted to the FCC in response to the NPRM overwhelmingly opposed repurposing spectrum away from transportation safety. In fact, more than 85% of the commenters opposed the FCC’s proposal, including state and city departments of transportation, automakers, vehicle suppliers, technology companies, law enforcement, first responders, safety advocates, engineers, telecommunications companies, the drone industry, and many others. These groups asked the FCC to heed the warnings of USDOT that this plan would not allow sufficient spectrum for V2X to function, threatening the significant safety benefits this technology provides.

“We are representative of a broad and diverse group of stakeholders that strongly support preserving the 5.9 GHz safety spectrum band for transportation safety. We ask you to use the Committee’s authority over the FCC to direct the Commission to reconsider the approach in the NPRM that reallocates spectrum within the 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed uses. Use of your authority at this critical juncture could save thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars each year. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the safety, economic, congestion mitigation, environmental, and efficiency benefits that V2X technologies can provide are realised in the United States.”


Intelligent Transportation Society of America
Alliance for Automotive Innovation

Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network
America Walks
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
American Automobile Association
American Bus Association
American Council of Engineering Companies
American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona
American Highway Users Alliance
American Motorcyclist Association
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Traffic Safety Services Association
American Trucking Associations
Center for Auto Safety
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
Consumer Reports
Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions, Inc.
Governors Highway Safety Association
Greyhound Lines, Inc.
Institute of Transportation Engineers
International Association of Fire Chiefs
International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA)
League of American Bicyclists
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Maryland Asphalt Association
Mid-West Truckers Association
Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA)
NAFA Fleet Management Association
National Electrical Manufacturers Association
National Federation of the Blind
National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association
National Safety Council
National School Transportation Association
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
Potters Industries
RV Industry Association
SAE International
State Farm
Tire Industry Association
Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA)
Volvo Group North America


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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).