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Federal Guidance Released for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Communication

On the final day of the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a set of documents setting guidelines for how vehicles communicate with infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released guidance for how to incorporate vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication in order to accelerate the deployment of the technology. The guidance, released Jan. 19, works complementarily with the department’s efforts to reduce accidents by advancing vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology announced in a proposed rule in December.

V2I communication technology could conceivably warn drivers of dangerous roadway conditions such as icy roads or an upcoming accident on the highway giving the driver notice to be on the lookout.

“V2I will make our roads safer and save lives,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the release. “This is an important step in deploying a connected vehicle environment.”

In keeping with the collaborative nature that the U.S. DOT has practiced under Foxx, the guidance is meant to help state and local governments accelerate the technology. The guidance provides information to facilitate efficient and effective planning, procurement and operations throughout the life cycle of a project.

Topics the guidance covers include:

  • Connected Vehicle Applications
  • Planning for V2I Activities
  • National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act
  • Interoperability
  • Evaluation
  • ITS Equipment Capability and Compatibility
  • Hardware/Software Device Certification
  • Reliability
  • Use of Right-of-Way
  • Allowance of Private-Sector Use
  • Design Consideration for Facilities
  • Use of Existing Structures and Infrastructure
  • Use of Public-Sector Fleet
  • Procurement Process
  • Legacy System and Devices
Several documents were released as a reference for state and local transit managers and a Deployment Guidance and Resources page was set up to help work through the material.

The guidance will help state and local agencies understand:

  • What a decision to deploy V2I technology could mean to their region;
  • How to prepare for an emerging V2I technology; and
  • How federal-aid funds could be leveraged to deploy V2I technology.
Several questions have been unanswered in talking about connected vehicles: What frequency will the wireless communication be on? How much data will be transferred about individual drivers? How will this data be protected?

Federal Highway Administration Administrator Gregory Nadeau hopes that the release of this guidance will answer some of those questions. “We took a big leap forward today by starting a national conversation about these topics, the future of V2I technologies and some of the bigger challenges facing us, such as privacy, security and interoperability," he said.

Ryan McCauley was a staff writer for Government Technology magazine from October 2016 through July 2017, and previously served as the publication's editorial assistant.