In September of 2015, USDOT selected New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) as the recipients of a combined $42 million in federal funding to pilot next-generation infrastructure and vehicle technology under the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program.
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) led Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot program has completed an 18-month Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing process to use Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) to support vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication. The NYC CV Pilot project is one of the first CV projects to go through the licensing process and has presented valuable lessons learned to stakeholders in the CV deployment community. The project had 353 sites in three distinct areas in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn where CV equipment using DSRC communication would be deployed and require FCC licenses to operate.
The FCC has established licensing and service rules for DSRC for ITS in the 5.9 GHz band. According to the FCC, the ITS services on that band shares co-primary status with radio services for high-powered military communications and fixed satellite communication, as well as secondary services designated for amateurs and Industrial, Scientific and Medical equipment. Use of federal government designated radio spectrum requires CV deployers to obtain licenses from the FCC to operate within the band and coordinate with local services to ensure there is no interference. Unintentional radio interference would cause safety concerns both for the CV deployment and nearby services such as airports.
The Roadside Units (RSU) deployed by NYCDOT were Class C devices that required the full channel range for communications. This required NYCDOT to put in three license applications per RSU deployment site in order to license the full channel range, for nearly 1000 licenses in total. The licensing process took about 18 months for NYCDOT to complete. The process took such a long period of time because NYCDOT found that there is currently no batch processing capability for these applications. Each of the nearly 1000 applications had to be entered into the FCC Online Application form one-at-a-time. The process was also lengthened by required coordination with the aviation communication services within 75 kilometers of the deployment site. In New York City that meant coordination with four airports: LaGuardia, JFK, Newark and Teterboro, as well as four heliports and a seaplane base.
A breakthrough came when NYCDOT was able to obtain an Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) geographic coordination waiver to expedite the process. The IRAC geographic coordination waiver allowed NYCDOT to work directly with the IRAC to help speed up coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Telecommunications and Information Administration. NYCDOT is now working with USDOT and the FCC to improve the license request process using the lessons they learned in completing the process.