Momentum: Issue #18

April 29, 2019


More than 20 years ago, ITS America petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allocate what is now known as the “5.9 GHz band” for transportation safety critical communications. Since that time, road operators, auto manufacturers and technology companies have made major investments in Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) short-range communications.

V2X technology, once it is deployed en masse, will finally address the scourge of lives lost and ruined on American roads. Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. More than 37,000 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2017 – and many would have been preventable with V2X technology.

The FCC adopted a framework that prioritizes communications involving an imminent threat to safety of life over all other communications. Recently, however, cable companies have been pressuring the FCC to  force safety-of-life critical systems in the 5.9 band to share that spectrum for enhanced entertainment.

ITS America continues to be a leading voice for preserving the safety spectrum – it is one of our top priorities. Last summer, we launched the V2X Task Force to advocate for standards that enables any vehicle to communicate with any other vehicle and with all other users of the transportation system. It was off to a busy start – in October, we asked the FCC to finish the testing process Congress requested to determine how to share the spectrum and filed several sets of comments related to the testing. Earlier this year, the association reiterated its position on V2X with the Department of Transportation and commented on a petition from 5GAA to allow CV2X technology in the 5.9 GHz band.

Last week, ITS America members Audi, Ford, Qualcomm and Panasonic joined Ron Thaniel, VP of Legislative Affairs, and Steven Bayless, VP of Policy, for meetings with the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees to convey the critical importance of preserving the spectrum for safety critical communications.

On Friday, Toyota sent a letter to the FCC notifying the commission of its decision to pause V2X deployment plans. As ITS America noted in a statement following the announcement, it is imperative that the FCC provide clear guidance and certainty to the private sector companies and road operators that are trying to create a safer environment by deploying V2X communications

Today, ITS America President & CEO Shailen Bhatt is representing the association at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s industry roundtable discussion on use of the 5.9 GHz band. The Department invited him to present the association’s interests and priorities. Stay tuned for updates related to this important event.

The FCC is likely to announce next steps related to the 5.9 GHz spectrum in the coming months. We hope you will stay engaged and help us communicate the life-saving benefits of V2X communications.


Name: Amy Ford
Title: Director, Mobility on Demand Alliance 

Responsibilities with ITS America: Lead an alliance of private and public sector partners to advanced seamless, traveler-centric mobility.

Favorite Part of working at ITS America: Helping to set the stage for our members and partners to do their good work to keep people moving and save lives – whether it is sharing best practices, helping to shape the policy to help them succeed, tackling together some of the obstacles in the way.

What’s the future of #ITS look like to you? Seamless experience where ITS infrastructure, real-time and over-time operations serves as the foundation for mobility services that everyone can access when they want it and how they want it.

Most looking forward to in 2019: Truly launching the Mobility on Demand Alliance and showing value to our members

Hobbies: Watching my kids’ sports and activities, playing my own sports (basketball), acting as a roadie for my daughter’s blues/rock band, and reading

Family: Husband Rob, son Chase (13), daughter Laine (16)

Favorite place to travel: Back “home” to Europe. As an Army brat, I lived in Belgium for six years and had the good fortune to travel across the continents. I love taking my family back to old haunts and seeing things through adult eyes.

Most Unusual Job you have ever had before current position: Fundraiser for the Athletics Department of the University of Denver. Everyone should have the opportunity to ask someone for money. It’s not easy, but really boils down to building on a shared passion.

If you could Switch jobs in your company, who would you switch with and why?: Shailen Bhatt. Seeing if I could match his eloquence in describing the future of transportation and being able to share that passion for the steps we need to take to get there. 

First car you drove?: 1978 Volvo Station wagon. We were living in Belgium and my dad met the car as it came off the boat from Sweden. We had to have an exemption from the EPA to have the car in the States since it didn’t have a catalytic converter. And I was driving that car still in 2000!

Karaoke Song: “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics or “Dream a Little Dream” by Mama Cass. Apparently, I only look at the “D” page and have a small singing range.

Hidden Talent: Ability to win any game of Mercy I play (ask me later and I’ll show you why)

If you weren’t working in Transportation industry you would: Always be in public service. It’s a calling to “do good” and not to make too much money : )