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AASHTO and ITS America in court to press legal appeal against reducing 5.9GHz band for V2X

The Washington DC Circuit Court (Court of Appeals) heard arguments yesterday (January 25) from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on why preserving the entire 5.9 GHz spectrum band for transportation communications is critical to reducing crashes and improving safety on US roads.

The hearing follows a legal appeal filed June 2, 2021, against Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) order regarding unlicensed devices in the 5.9 GHz band.

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The lawsuit seeks to reverse the FCC’s reallocation of 60% of the band to unlicensed, non-transportation uses and ensure vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies can continue to safely operate throughout the 5.9 GHz band.

Access to the entire 75 MHz of spectrum is necessary to deploy the full suite of connected vehicle technologies and fully realize the safety benefits of V2X.

Laura Chace, president and CEO, ITS America

“The loss of life is devastating, particularly given recent trends – roadway fatalities increased eight percent in 2020 (over 2019) and by another 18% in the first half of 2021,” said Laura Chace, president & CEO of ITS America. “Connected vehicle technology is our best tool to make roads safer and save lives, and we can’t leave it on the sidelines.”

“AASHTO and a broad cross-section of transportation safety experts and stakeholders have steadfastly objected to retaining anything less than the current 75 MHz of bandwidth for transportation,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director. “State departments of transportation are heavily vested in the development and deployment of connected and automated vehicles that have tremendous potential in significantly improving safety, mobility, and accessibility for all people.”

Chace and Tymon noted the FCC did not heed extensive concerns of dozens of transportation stakeholder organizations and safety experts, including USDOT and every state DOT, before it issued the final order.

Several organizations have voiced their support of the legal case. The American Highway Users Alliance, American Traffic Safety Services Association, Institute of Transportation Engineers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the National Safety Council filed an Amicus Brief, which focused on the need for ITS and the myriad safety benefits that this technology can provide.

In addition, Continental filed an Intervenor Brief, which focused on ways in which the reduced spectrum allocation will make it impossible to realize all the benefits that ITS can provide.

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