Momentum: Issue #41

March 16, 2020


Last week, ITS America’s policy agenda was front and center in Washington DC. On Monday, March 9, the association submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on its proposal to reallocate the majority of the 5.9 GHz band for use by unlicensed devices. ITS America’s comments focused on: (1) preserving the full 75 MHz in the safety spectrum band for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) transportation communications; (2) allowing both Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) and Cellular V2X (C-V2X) to operate in the band; (3) highlighting the safety, economic, and environmental benefits of V2X; and (4) discussing the likelihood of interference in the remaining 30 MHz should the proposal move forward. ITS America’s comments were drafted in close coordination with V2X Task Force and Advocacy Trust members.

Approximately 200 comments were submitted to the docket related to the FCC’s proposal. Of these, 40 focused on amateur radio issues, which operate on secondary licenses in the band, and 160 focused on the discussion of V2X and unlicensed device issues.  Of those 160 comments, the vast majority – 85 percent – opposed the FCC’s proposal and supported preserving the entire band for V2X technologies. This was due in part to the significant efforts ITS America undertook to build support for preserving the band among external stakeholders who may not have otherwise commented.

ITS America is now focused on drafting its reply comment, which is due on April 6. The reply comment will address issues raised in the comments by supporters of the proposal, the likelihood of interference and steps the FCC would need to take to mitigate that interference, and how the FCC should treat incumbent licensees should they move forward with the proposal.

Two days later, on March 11, ITS America leadership brought their collective voices to Capitol Hill to support a FAST Act reauthorization that recognizes the added value of integrating technology into transportation infrastructure and services and provides funding for the rapid deployment of intelligent transportation technologies. Board members discussed the association’s FAST Act reauthorization platform and recommendations, Moving People, Data and Freight: Safer, Greener, Smarter, with House and Senate transportation and infrastructure leaders.

In addition to expressing their support for ITSA’s FAST Act reauthorization policy, association leadership discussed how “technology is the new asphalt,” explained how automated and connected vehicle technologies have advanced, the collection and use of big data have become increasingly valuable tools for decision making, and how electrification of vehicles of every type from human scale to large-scale and Mobility on Demand (MOD) services are transforming how we get around.

ITS America members heard support from House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for MOD, preservation of the 75 MHz of the 5.9 GHz spectrum for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technologies, increasing the federal match for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) technologies to 100%, making Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) technologies an eligible activity, funding to safeguard the nation’s transportation infrastructure from cybersecurity risks, and increasing funding for the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Program.

They were encouraged that Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA); House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure minority staff; House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit minority staff, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE); and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works majority staff all understood the importance of preserving the 5.9 GHz band for V2X. Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety Chairman Deb Fischer (R-NE) asked several questions about V2X technologies. She was particularly interested in V2P technology and how the technology can reduce the increase in pedestrian and bike-related fatalities. She was clear, however, that bicyclists should obey the rules of the road.

Board members who participated in the meeting with Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs majority and minority staff expressed their support for a MOD program in the FAST Act reauthorization. They emphasized the need for support with operational platforms like data integration, fare integration, and clarity in definitions.

Staff to Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) expressed support for ITS America’s V2X and cybersecurity policy. She was clear, however, that she had concerns with creating new programs and the potential impacts of those programs on current highway programs. Members reassured her that ITS America’s V2X and cybersecurity policy calls for increased eligibility, not new programs.

ITS America is grateful to the following members of the Board of Directors and Advocacy Trust members that participated in the 2020 advocacy day: Ramin Massoumi, Iteris, Board Vice Chair; Malcolm Dougherty, Michael Baker International, Past Board Chair; Chris Armstrong, Panasonic; John Barton, HNTB; Roger Millar, Washington State DOT; Joanna Pinkerton, COTA; Marc Williams, Texas DOT; Sheryl Wilkerson, Michelin; John Kwant, Ford; Suzanne Murtha, AECOM; Michael Julian, AAA; Lori Pepper, CalSTA; and Kristin White, Minnesota DOT.


Name:  Blair Schlecter
Title: VP of Economic Development and Government Affairs
Company:  Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce

Short Job description:  I manage advocacy and economic development efforts for businesses in the Beverly Hills area, including government affairs and policy efforts at the local, state and federal level and manage several projects to attract and retain businesses in the area.  I separately advise and consult with companies in the transportation field and have published several papers on transportation policy and its intersection with technology.

Current or previous #ITS Project:  Co-Authored a Report on Technology and Policy Recommendations for Ride-Hailing at airports “Congestion at the Curb: An Analysis of Ride-Hailing at LAX and Recommendations to Optimize the TNC System at Airports.”

Accomplishments:  Co-Chair, Transportation Los Angeles County Business Federation.  Published author and speaker in the transportation policy and technology space.

What’s the future of #ITS look like to you? Understanding how to effectively blend transportation technology with human behavioral attributes.  For example, how to integrate connected and autonomous vehicles with logistical and other human behaviors. 

Hobbies:  NFL, flag football, reading, history

Favorite place to travel:  Hawaii, Europe, Canada

Hidden Talent:  Parallel parking, and finding street parking