Intelligent Transport Systems in the 5.9 GHz band
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are a group of new technologies designed to improve road safety and support the more efficient use of transport infrastructure. Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) is an emerging wireless ITS technology developed to transmit safety and traffic information over short distances. DSRC enables data communications between vehicles. It can also be used for communications between vehicles and roadside infrastructure to support traffic coordination and broadcast of safety information. Some of the features provided by DSRC include:
- Intersection collision avoidance
- Road condition warnings
- Traffic emergency notifications
The United States, Europe and Canada have allocated spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band range to DSRC, while Japan and Korea have allocated spectrum in the 5.8 GHz band. The US and European bands align in frequency but there are significant differences in some technical parameters. Discussions are underway between these two administrations in an attempt to completely harmonise the bands.
It appears that the 5.9 GHz band might, in general, be suitable for ITS applications in New Zealand, although coordination with satellite uplink stations, and possibly adjacent fixed links, would be required. Current NZ allocations and the major international DSRC proposals are shown below.
The Ministry has drafted a discussion paper on the allocation of spectrum for DSRC. However, it has been decided to delay the release of that document in light of uncertainty about the outcome of the on-going work to harmonise the US and EU standards. If compatible with other uses, NZ would be likely to favour a joint US/EU standard for its own use. However, until the details of this standard are clear it may be difficult for users of adjacent bands to judge possible impacts on them. The Ministry therefore plans to release the discussion document for consultation once there is more clarity about long-term ITS standards.
Note about used vehicle imports
It is clear that Japanese and Korean 5.8 GHz equipment will not be suitable for use in New Zealand due to possible interference from equipment in the existing general user radio licence (GURL) band.
Purchasers of second-hand imported vehicles with such equipment installed should be aware that it does not align with the proposed NZ standard and is therefore unlikely to work in New Zealand.