American ITS industry loses 5.9GHz legal challenge

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and ITS America have lost their court battle to prevent the US Federal Communications Commission from reallocating swaths of the 5.9-gigahertz (GHz) wireless communication spectrum to non-transportation uses.

Asashto Journal reports the District of Columbia Circuit Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed last year aimed at ensuring vehicle-to-everything or V2X technologies can continue safely operating throughout the 5.9 GHz band. The case would have reversed a decision in November 2020 to shift 60% of the spectrum to unlicensed, non-transport use.

The court ruled against the suit saying, “We agree that the FCC does not control intelligent transportation systems. But it has a statutory duty to allocate the spectrum to its best use. And figuring out how much of the spectrum is needed to support a particular activity is exactly what the FCC does. Sometimes that involves analysing the technical features of a spectrum use to figure out what range is actually needed, as the FCC did here.”

In a joint statement, AASHTO Executive Director Jim Tymon and ITS America President and CEO Laura Chace expressed their disappointment with the ruling:

“[This] decision reallocating a majority of the 5.9 GHz spectrum is a blow to transportation safety for all Americans,” they said. “At a time when roadway deaths are at an all-time high, our efforts to preserve the entire 75 MHz spectrum for connected vehicle safety solutions demonstrate the industry’s commitment to saving lives. We are disappointed and frustrated that the FCC and the Court disregarded our collective expertise and feedback, ignoring the importance of transportation safety and ignoring the importance of using these technologies to stop the public health emergency on our nation’s roadways. The FCC instead continued to prioritise economic interests over public safety.”

In addition, ITS America’s “Future of V2X Working Group” continues to press forward on efforts to develop strategies for deploying lifesaving V2X technologies under a new paradigm. AASHTO has also been working with its members to further the readiness, deployment, and integration of V2X technologies on public roadways.

(Picture – Yay Images)

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