New York CV Pilot Completes DSRC Licensing

The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) led Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot program has completed anTraffic Light 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 for 350 Roadside Units (RSUs) simultaneously and has presented valuable lessons learned to stakeholders in the CV deployment community.

The CV Pilot program is sponsored by the USDOT Joint Program Office for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to pioneer the deployment of connected vehicle technologies in three U.S. locations, including New York City. The pilot program will demonstrate how safety-related warnings and other CV applications can be deployed in the real world to address safety, mobility, and environmental goals.

New York City DOT MapThe New York City CV pilot project area encompasses three distinct areas in the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. The project has 353 sites where CV equipment using DSRC requires FCC licenses to operate.

In 2003, the FCC first 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 share 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. NYCDOT also requested use of the full Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP) on each channel. However, that request conflicted with their application for the full frequency range which would have restricted NYCDOT to 23 dBm EIRP.

Using the maximum EIRP required NYCDOT to put in three license applications per RSU deployment site to license the full channel range at each EIRP level, nearly 1000 licenses in total. The licensing process took about 18 months for NYCDOT to complete because of the large volume of licenses, geographic locations to airports, and multiple agency reviews.

For example, the application 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’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) form, one-at-a-time. The USDOT and FCC collaborated to expedite the application process for large (or batch) licenses; however, the batch process required costly improvements to the FCC’s website which was designed for accepting a single application per location site.

In addition, NYCDOT had to coordinate with four airports (i.e., LaGuardia, JFK, Newark and Teterboro) and two federal facilities that reside within 75 kilometers of the deployment site. It was essential that NYCDOT did not impact the daily operations of the four airports or interfere with the two federal radiolocation services.

During the RSU licensing process, the FCC coordinates with National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) which manages the federal use of spectrum. A breakthrough came when the FCC used a preclearance process. Under that process, if the RSUs were in a predefined geographic area, approval was accelerated since the RSU location did not impact federal spectrum. NYCDOT provided the FCC a map displaying a center point in New York City and a circle with a radius that encompassed the NYCDOT pilot area thereby showing no impact to the federal use of spectrum.

A second breakthrough came by receiving an Environmental Impacts waiver from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA). The FAA required the submission of an Environmental Study addressing the impact of mounting and installing the antennas in the designated public locations. NYCDOT submitted a waiver request stating that, “Communication between vehicles and the road side infrastructure (RSUs) will be via DSRC Direct Short Range RF Communications, at the 5.9 GHz dedicated range. The RSUs are equipped with two 6” inch DSRC antennas. The RSUs will be mounted on existing signal poles at a height of 15’ – 20’ ft. using brackets, and powered via Ethernet from a port from existing NYC DOT traffic signal cabinets. We do not intend or foresee a need to construct alternative or additional poles in order to mount and power up the RSU.”

NYCDOT is now working with USDOT and the FCC to improve the license application process using lessons learned in submitting the initial tranche of applications. A key goal will be to give license applicants the ability to submit applications in a batch, rather than individually, as was initially done by NYCDOT. Increased coordination with other departments and IRAC earlier in the licensing process will help future deployers avoid the lengthy process NYCDOT encountered. NYCDOT presented its lessons learned from the licensing process to CV stakeholders in the System Design Webinar and during the CV Pilots session at the Transportation Research Board’s 97th Annual Meeting.