By: Natasha Taylor
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) has developed and introduced a national V2X deployment plan as a call to action for state and local transport agencies, automotive manufacturers, federal government agencies, and other stakeholders to install V2X systems for public safety.
ITS America is the leading advocate of intelligent transportation technology in the US, and brings together both the public and private sectors to advance and implement intelligent transportation systems across the country with the goal of saving lives.
Its latest report presents a proposed national V2X deployment plan from the perspective of both infrastructure owner-operators (IOOs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), as well as the call-to-action for state and local transportation agencies and related federal agencies.
Additionally, it highlights how interoperability is to be achieved, goals to achieve a rapid nationwide infrastructure rollout, estimated rollout cost and proposed sources of funding for the V2X technology.
An overview of the main points and proposed plans are provided below.
1. The Business Case For a National V2X Deployment Plan
The implementation of just two V2X safety applications, IMA and LTA, would prevent up to 615,000 crashes per year, saving up to 1,366 lives.
Preventing these crashes through V2X technology could save between $55 and $74 billion. A wider deployment of V2X technology is therefore expected to see this figure increase.
V2X technology can reduce emissions through applications such as traffic management and platooning, providing key environmental benefits.
The implementation of V2X technology and a national deployment has always focused on improving the safety of road users, a priority that Ettifos shares. With deaths on US highways exceeding 43,000 per year, the deployment of V2X is thought to be imperative to curb the crisis.
The need for V2X was previously highlighted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2016 when it noted that the implementation of just two safety applications—Intersection Movement Assistant (IMA) and Left Turn Assist (LTA)—would prevent up to 615,000 crashes per year, saving up to 1,366 lives.
The monetary savings of reducing these crashes is estimated to be between $55 and $74 billion. It is therefore suggested that a national deployment with additional V2X safety applications would “multiply these benefits significantly”.
In addition to the safety-related benefits, key environmental benefits have been highlighted through the implementation of V2X technology, whereby emissions can be reduced by up to 16 percent through traffic management and signal control using V2X, as well as a potential 33 percent emission reduction through platooning.
The deployment of V2X technology, according to ITS America, is “beyond testing”; its capabilities have been shown in smaller deployments across the US that have been operational for more than five years. These deployments show that V2X can work in a wide range of applications such as vulnerable roadway safety, platooning, road hazard warning, and transit and freight mobility solutions.
The case has also been made that as an intelligent transportation system, V2X is more cost effective than civil projects and can be deployed within a year or two of funding, compared to others that take several more years.
2. National V2X Deployment - Infrastructure and Cost
A nationwide deployment would begin with a roll out of V2X and related infrastructure at signalized intersections—it is estimated that there are around 330,000 across the US.
The short term plan aims to see RSUs, supporting infrastructure and systems on 100,000 intersections, with the long term goal rising to 250,000 intersections.
It is estimated that the initial spend of the long term 10 year goals would be around $6.5 billion.
ITS America has outlined that a nationwide deployment must be “expansive, concentrated, uniform and interoperable” to ensure that the full safety benefits of V2X systems are achieved. Therefore, a long-term plan has been developed to be carried out over a number of years, including goals for shorter term milestones.
The initial recommendation from ITS America is to roll out V2X and related infrastructure at signalized intersections: as they are a “ready foundation” allowing V2X to be deployed in a shorter period of time, alongside the development of a certification process to verify the broadcast data is accurate.
At present, there are estimated to be 330,000 signalized intersections in the United States and the national deployment plan proposes that a “substantial” proportion of those should be equipped with C-V2X RSUs under the responsibility of each state Department of Transportation.
The short term plan aims to see RSUs and supporting infrastructure and systems on 100,000 intersections - around 40% of the long-term goal, with the distribution being 35% in large communities, 25% in mid-sized communities and 8% in rural communities.
Each of these would be configured to broadcast BSM, SPaT, MAP and RTCM messages, as well as being capable of broadcasting TIM, SRM, SSM, and RSM, secured with a security certificate and the broadcast date should be verified to meet any standardized criteria for “accuracy, consistency, and reliability”.
There will be the requirement that each state DOT will produce a V2X development plan within 18 months of the adoption of the national plan. This will allow agencies within that state to receive federal funding for V2X deployment.
The long-term goal across the US, to be achieved within 10 years of the adoption of the plan, is to install RSUs and supporting infrastructure and systems on 250,000 intersections. Of this number, the distribution plan aims to equip:
85% of all signalized intersections in metro areas with populations greater than 400,000
60% of all signalized intersections in “mid-sized communities” (metro areas with populations between 50,000 and 400,000)
20% of all signalized intersections in “rural communities” (communities with fewer than 50,000 people)
In terms of cost, an outline estimates that the initial spend of the long term 10 year goals would be around $6.5 billion—a number described as “reasonable and attainable” for a transportation project at this scale.
To illustrate the cost of implementation, it is proposed that an agency in a large community equipping 1,700 intersections would have an initial deployment cost of between $25 and $45 million.
A smaller deployment in a more rural setting, based on the deployment of 100 intersections, is estimated to have an initial estimated cost of between $1.5 and $2.7 million.
Currently, there are a number of funding options to achieve V2X deployment at signalized intersections through federal funding, or where the V2X operations have fallen within the scope of a larger capital project such as the Highway Safety Improvement Program or Carbon Reduction Program.
The next step would be the implementation of dedicated funding for V2X and its deployment. This, however, would require congressional approval within something such as the Transportation Reauthorization Bill, which is expected to take at least 4 years.
It is assumed that a national deployment will take place via C-V2X communication in the 5.9Ghz band, using 20MGz of the 30MHz that has been assigned by the FCC, due to a long term availability.
A First Report and Order has been issued to establish regulatory certainty, with a Second Report and Order being required to establish elements surrounding certification, power limits, etc.
The FCC will offer waivers to allow the deployment of C-V2X devices, however, requests already submitted are still pending. It is assumed these requests will be issued before the end of 2023.
The development of the proposed National V2X Deployment plan has been based on a set of assumptions surrounding various factors that include the technology itself, the regulatory landscape, US infrastructure, interoperability, and the development cycles of OEMs.
The plan assumes that a national deployment will make use of the 5.9GHz frequency band and that 20MHz of the 30MHz assigned by The Federal Communications Commision (FCC) will be available for use in the long term.
Currently, however, a First Report and Order has been issued by the FCC as a step to establish “regulatory certainty” in the 5.9GHz band. Following this, a Second Report and Order is required to “establish broadcast power limits, establish certification requirements, define procedures to register RSUs within jurisdictional licenses, address interference, and other important elements”.
According to ITS America, OEMs need the certainty of these regulations before they can commit resources to be deployed on millions of vehicles. Therefore, the assumption has been made that the 5.9GHz band will remain protected by the FCC.
There is also the assumption that the Second Report and Order would be provided two years before any deployment deadlines, certifying that C-V2X technology can be used compliantly in the 5.9GHZ band.
Meanwhile, ITS America highlights that the FCC has stated it will offer Waivers for the deployment of C-V2X devices. However, several Waiver requests that have been submitted are currently said to be pending. Without these, RSUs will not be able to be deployed by agencies, therefore, the plan assumes that the Waivers will be issued by the end of 2023 to allow for a certain degree of deployment.
4. Deployment Timelines
Within three years of a national deployment, C-V2X (PC5 or Uu) is expected to include V2I and V2V communications, and for VRUs to include road, emergency vehicle, and vehicle-to-cyclist alerts.
It is expected that it would take between eight and thirteen years for all vehicles to be equipped with V2X technology.
There is a call for the DOT in supporting V2X as a proven technology to increase uptake across the country.
A “likely” timeline has been set out, along with scenarios that could be expected in relation to OEM deployment and C-V2X applications for usage in vehicles.
Although some OEMs have already implemented C-V2X applications and products within their vehicles, it is expected that the timeline given is more reasonable as an overall approach, as many OEMs will be “falling into the longer end of the range”.
An illustration of the ITS America V2X Deployment Plan Timeline by Ettifos
Within three years of a national deployment, it is expected that applications utilizing C-V2X (sidelink or Uu) will include vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and basic vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, as well as applications for Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) to include road work alerts, emergency vehicle alerts and vehicle-to-cyclist alerts.
Within five years, there is the hope of deployment in more production vehicles that utilize the installed infrastructure base and also V2X-equipped Vulnerable Road Users.
By year seven, it is imagined that there would be an “acceleration of buy-in started during development of a NHTSA if-equipped standard”, which is expected to reduce the production timeline for OEMs.
However, current estimates made by ITS America suggest that it will take at least eight years for all vehicles to be equipped with C-V2X technology. The longest estimate for this is stated to be up to 13 years. It is recognized that for OEMs, the value proposition of V2X and the subsequent benefits would materialize later in the cycle, generally after a mass deployment is achieved.
To achieve a national deployment of V2X technology, there is importance placed on the need for the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to have a supporting role and increase its emphasis on V2X as a “proven technology for safety and mobility environments”.
It is proposed that the USDOT can do this in a number of ways, such as giving V2X programs more visibility, increasing the importance of V2X deployment as a selection criterion in discretionary grant programs, and updating the USDOT National Roadway Safety Strategy to highlight V2X as an enabler of near-term safer roads.
5. Future Actions
ITS America outlines that all stakeholders should give undivided attention to deploying C-V2X in the 5.9GHz spectrum to implement the immediate safety benefits of the technology.
When IOOs and OEMs establish national, unified deployments that “fully utilize” the 5.9GHz spectrum, there is the expectation that collaboration is needed in order to develop additional deployment plans.
Additional deployment plans would be focused on expanding the deployment of C-V2X RSUs beyond signalized intersections, expanding beyond the 5.9GHz spectrum to make use of cellular, Wi-Fi and other technologies for additional public benefits, and identifying at least 40MHz of additional spectrum for 5G NR-V2X technology and automated vehicle applications.
The calls from ITS America seek strong collaboration among stakeholders, both government and industry, to establish a crucial and robust deployment framework that ensures reliable and secure V2X communication. By following the guidelines set out in the report, it is put forward that both the short and long term goals can be successfully achieved to increase road safety and save lives across the U.S.
The full ITS America report can be accessed here.