Laura Chace: ITSA is leading the mindset shift to invest in digital infrastructure

What are the most important goals of ITS America, and where does vehicle-to-everything or V2X fit in?

ITS America is the only national association that focuses on the integration of technology into our transportation system to support a safer, greener and smarter future for all. Our role is to be the leading national voice on transportation technologies to integrate them into our everyday life. As we have seen with mobile phones, real-time information to enable transportation is everywhere and the public is adaptable to accepting these innovations.  Vehicles are increasingly equipped with more and more technology and connectivity. We are guiding and leading this transition to ensure that technology is being integrated in a way that supports communities and our safety goals.

That’s where V2X comes in, very prominently. It is perhaps the number one tool we have to achieve our Vision Zero safety goals. V2X can also advance our climate goals, sustainable mobility, equity and access in our systems. We believe that technologies like V2X – while always putting safety first – help advance all of those goals. Even something as simple as the original Transit Signal Priority has a real equity component to make transportation more accessible and work better for people.

ITS America has a long history…

…going back some 30 years when we were founded. Originally, we were called IVHS, Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems, because ITS technology was focused on highways and vehicles. Now ITS America as an organization and the solutions out there cover every mode of transportation. More and more technological tools are being developed that can help solve the problems and challenges we face in transportation. Fatalities are increasing – up to 43,000 per year, which doesn’t include all of the nonfatal crashes that result in serious injury. We know that 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, and ITS technologies help manage demand and optimize the system. Electrification alone is not going to be enough to offset all the energy used in transportation and resulting emissions. A lot of ITS technologies are now being used in the transit space and others, for on-demand mobility and seamless payments, to make transit more reliable, accessible, and attractive to customers. These are the things I think about when I talk about the digital transformation of transportation.

What was the biggest change in technologies that moved forward these efforts?

I think it is the real-time data coming from sensors, connected vehicles, mobile phones and other inputs. Transportation agencies don’t have to rely on a few years old historical crash reports to figure out where the most dangerous intersections are, they can actually see them using real-time data and determine fixes. Some of those fixes are going to be things like deploying V2X or other technologies, and some of those fixes are going to be a physical improvement in a particular area. I think that the consumer expectation of having reliable and real-time information in the palm of their hands, whether it’s a map application or transit information, has really pushed a change forward in the industry.

On the V2X front, with the FCC approval of the joint waiver, you can see that all the players in the industry are aligned around C-V2X and the remaining 30MHz of dedicated spectrum. We have a use or lose situation. We’re seeing a maturity in the alignment in the industry, and also a maturity of the technology, where everyone has gone through the testing and piloting phase and is ready for actual deployments, and they need to happen, today.  At the same time, a massive increase in road fatalities in the country has made it very clear: doing the same thing over and over is a recipe for continued tragedy. There are a host of reasons to work together to scale up V2X deployments to reduce fatalities and crashes for all road users.


What has been the organization’s greatest achievement in recent years? 

ITS America is leading the mindset shift in the industry to push the need to invest in digital infrastructure. The last 50 years have been about focusing on investments in physical infrastructure: resurfacing roads, widening roads, upgrading bridges. While it’s absolutely critical to invest in physical infrastructure, we also need to invest significantly in the digital layer: in sensors, in software code, in computing, in data sharing networks, because if we don’t have this solid layer of digital infrastructure, we cannot adapt our transport systems for the future. We are quickly maxing out road space, when we can’t create more lanes, we must use space more efficiently. The digital layer does that.

It makes our physical assets more nimble, that allows you to optimize them, to make them dynamic. We’ve successfully led this conversation and gotten the industry and the federal government on board to recognize that yes, this is a priority, and we need to invest seriously and sustainably in the digital layer.

What are your expectations for the coming years that would show this dramatic shift in the mindset?

We’ll be working with the federal government on a reference architecture for digital infrastructure, because we need an interoperable system. We don’t want digitalization to happen in silos in different places across the country, we want a national roadmap. Ultimately, I hope the federal government seriously considers the work we release as a starting point for a national roadmap, so that everyone understands how and where to invest, so that these investments do not become obsolete. These are investments for the future.

We’re going to produce a draft strategy and document this summer.  It will take time to reach a full consensus on the document, but I’d really love to see this happen in the next year. Timing is critical as the money from the infrastructure bill is available now and it’s important that we are able to capture those investments. We want to make sure that agencies feel confident making those investments in the digital layer.

Coming back to V2X, there are a number of grants where V2X is an eligible activity and of course we support and promote this, but we would love to see proposals including V2X or interoperable connectivity prioritized in grants. We would like to see this happen not only with smaller technology grants, but also with larger grants like RAISE, which allows for larger scale deployment.

What should people interested in V2X look for?

ITS America just released a national V2X deployment plan covering both the infrastructure and automotive side to inform the development of USDOT’s plan on national interoperable connectivity. Through our committees and working groups, companies and organizations can provide their input, and they can help us promote this plan to US DOT and others. We will also have opportunities over the next year to get involved and help contribute to the national dialogue.

Do you have specific plans about the FCC C-V2X waiver decision?

Our V2X committee will continue to engage on this. The joint waiver has been approved, but it’s important to know that there are other individual waivers still being held back, and we’re working very hard to get those approved by the FCC. There is no reason to hold those back. We want to make sure that all of the waivers that have been filed are approved so that these entities can move forward with deployments across multiple states and jurisdictions.

What will make these rules final?

The FCC has a regulatory process that they have to go through. It’s called the second report and order, which is the ultimate vehicle for the FCC to publish final rules for the spectrum. We are working with our members and through our regulatory channels to provide input into the FCC process so that we can continue to advocate for final rules that support our members’ positions. But it’s all part of the FCC’s rulemaking process.

Is it possible that they want to see deployments all over the United States to be convinced?

The FCC regulatory process is their own process, so I can’t comment on how quickly it will go or not. We are pushing for quick deployments to show that the industry is hungry and moving everything to get this technology to scale.

Niels Peter Skov Andersen:
Car2Car put the letter C into C-ITS

For those who are not familiar with V2X and the work of the Car2Car Communication Consortium, how would you describe its activities? What was the challenge that brought Car2Car to life?

Car2Car was the organization that put the letter C into C-ITS, the collaboration part of Intelligent Transport Systems.

Traditionally, cars didn’t have any contact with the outside world. The only connection between the car and the road operator was the tire to the tarmac. Car manufacturers started to use radars and camera systems, to individually help drivers, but they wanted to go beyond that. As the need for collaboration between vehicles emerged, the industry needed common specifications and technologies, so vehicles could understand each other.  

The work started with research. There was a frequency band, and we had to figure out how to use that. In mobile networks, the operator controls the network, but V2X is more similar to wifi. We needed a higher degree of interoperability, and in road safety applications we couldn’t allow a long setup before vehicles could start negotiating.

The first results have been brought into standardization, as the European Commission has provided funding to get standards out of the work. The research phase has continued with new developments since then, it’s not a one-shot thing. A third phase is also needed, there are always questions about how standards should be interpreted. In profiling, we define exactly how we will use the standards, exactly what we mean by hard braking and other events. In addition to our internal work, we hold regular bi-weekly meetings with road operators in C-Roads to coordinate the fine details and figure out what is important for road operators and the industry in order to align our priorities.

What was the most important landmark in V2X?

The real important landmark was the launch of the Volkswagen Golf 8. Until that point we had a lot of demonstrations and pilots. You can demonstrate a lot of things, but the moment somebody starts to put things in commercial products, that is where you move from dream to reality.

Is Car2Car mainly focusing on Europe?

At the moment Europe is the only place where we have large scale V2X deployments. Europe has a clear lead in V2X technologies. 

What are your future expectations with V2X?

If you look at our roadmap, we are moving towards providing the underlying support for fully automated driving. If I have to describe V2X to people who are not familiar with the technology, I ask them to imagine sitting in a car, while somebody paints all the windows black and then they have to drive. We need to get all the information the driver normally could observe into the car. Some of these can be received from cameras, radars and lidars. But, sooner or later, you will get into an unforeseen situation where you need to negotiate. Just what human drivers do in day to day traffic. When there’s a doubt who is to drive first, you make eye contact. That is the basic element of why you need communication.

You can get more details with better sensor technologies, but you cannot share information or negotiate. A classic example is when you are driving on a country road only one car wide, where you have these wider meeting points. The one that is closer to this meeting space has to reverse. Now, if both of you believe that the other car is closer, how do you get out of this situation?

Maxime Flament:
Once 5GAA was created, it attracted enormous interest

What is the role of 5GAA in the development of V2X technologies?

5GAA was created a little bit more than 6 years ago, and we bring together the telecom and automotive sector, mainly to contribute to the advancement of end-to-end connected vehicle services. Beyond the commercial interest of our members, we want to provide social benefits with safer, smarter and more environmentally friendly solutions. We are active in all regions, because our members are global players, and it was always clear for us that 4G and 5G are the right technologies to focus on when we are talking about global telecommunications solutions for automotive.

We are looking at two different kinds of communications. The connectivity to the mobile network is a commercial service by the operators. It brings broad connectivity to different cloud services, to the Internet, and any other services that can be accessed through the Internet. The other one is the short range communication between different vehicles, between the vehicles and the infrastructure, and eventually also including pedestrians. It is low latency and independent of any mobile network operators. These two radio interfaces clearly complement each other. 

What brought 5GAA to life 6-7 years ago?

There were two different challenges. In 2016, the auto industry started real deployments of LTE based connectivity in cars, and this connectivity started to contribute to road safety with warnings such as local hazard warnings. This safety related traffic information, generated by the vehicles, was sent to the mobile network and generated warnings to the relevant vehicles that were passing by. This has really triggered the market and we clearly see that 4G and 5G are becoming the reference technology for connectivity in our cars.

In the meantime, the 3GPP, responsible for global mobile standards, started working on verticals around 2016-2017. Its focus was on how to design 4G amd 5G radio interfaces to serve the specific requirements of specific markets. One of these verticals was transport, but it was clear that the automotive industry is the real target. In order to make it work, telecommunications and automotive professionals had to start understanding each other. 

As a funny anecdote from these early days: people could talk about the problems they face on their network, and they would mention traffic, congestion, collisions, etc. After a while they would realize that some of them were thinking about radio networks, while the others about the road networks. All these terms exist in both sectors, on the mobile network and the road operator side, but, of course, they don’t mean the same.


What was the key in 5GAA’s growth?

Once 5GAA was created it attracted enormous interest. There were a lot of players who did not yet have a complete strategy to connect vehicles to the networks. By having all players at a global level in the same room, we ended up having a common understanding of how to eventually go to market, what really matters for vehicle manufacturers. We brought the right answers at the right time. In a world where harmonization and standardization are key, the industry players have to differentiate in other aspects such as the service they are providing.

What would you call the greatest achievement in the life of 5GAA?

At the time we started, it was not clear at all that all vehicle manufacturers would engage fully with 4G and 5G connectivity. We really established 5G as the reference communication for the whole industry, everywhere in the world. In short range connectivity, we managed to get from standardization to deployments in less than three years. By 2020, we had the first full scale deployment on the Chinese market, and now we are engaging with the US, South Korea and other places in the world. In Europe, the story is a little bit different because policy makers have been favoring ITS-G5. But 5GAA members are quite unanimous, they want to go beyond what ITS-G5 can do and make 5G-V2X the technology of choice.

In China, we also started to learn what works well on a large scale with a balanced use of mobile and short range radios. What makes big differences in connectivity, over-the-top cloud services, EDGE computing, and designing interfaces that are exchanging the right data at the right time for different road users. 

What are your future expectations for V2X?

First: making sure to completely embrace the opportunities related to the mobile networks. Second: to make sure that 5G V2X is market ready within the next few years. We are talking about 2025-2027 for mass market readiness. Then, the inclusion of other access technologies within the 5G family. One of them is the use of non-terrestrial networks, satellite communication, that would make sure that all parts of the world are covered, even where a terrestrial service does not make a commercial sense.

How AI helps transport

You may have already created awesome pictures and some clever paragraphs in generative AI services like ChatGPT and Dall-E, as we have created some fun ideas of what a bicycle airbag or other road safety device would look like. We truly appreciate the mind blowing creativity at the intersection of art and transport, whether it’s done by computers or humans. For the latter, our favorite is the Bull’s Head made by Pablo Picasso.

The capabilities of artificial intelligence can be used in many other areas of transport technology, with less focus on entertainment and more on safety. Here are some examples of areas where the industry prefers to use AI.

  1. Scene recognition
  2. Crash likelihood prediction
  3. Traffic optimization

Scene recognition is a complex process including object detection, tracking and classification. With semantic segmentation smart sensors label each pixel according to the object to which it belongs, such as “sky”, “vehicle” or “pavement”. 

GPUs and TPUs brought massive parallel processing capabilities to road safety sensors and cameras to accelerate the training and inference of neural networks that are built on top is basic computer vision methods. Accurate and rapid detection of a large number of objects is key for the V2X ecosystem. Our Roadside Units need reliable information to formulate V2X messages about what’s happening on the road, so connected cars can display relevant alerts in front of the drivers. This helps in dealing with critical situations.

Roadside and on-board sensors provide data with different levels of confidence. The information therefore needs to be validated using multiple entities to make sure they see the same thing we see.

Crash likelihood detection with AI is a whole new level in V2X. Once we have understood the scene with the help of scene recognition, we need to use this information to predict and prevent potential collisions. One such measure could be to send a V2X alert to the driver about the need to change the speed of the vehicle.

Artificial intelligence algorithms for predictive modeling can build on a wide range of information sources. To predict the probability of a crash, they can analyze data from on-board and roadside sensors, cameras and other sources such as traffic patterns, weather conditions and driver behavior. V2X has the unique ability to provide real-time information about an emergency braking well ahead of us in our lane, or if there has been a collision on our route.

AI also plays an important role at the macroscopic level, in traffic optimization. Only V2X-enabled vehicles and the connected smart infrastructure can provide a realistic traffic environment description for real-time traffic management. AI-algorithms can adjust traffic signals based on actual traffic conditions, road closures, historical traffic data and weather information to reduce congestion and the risk of collisions. 

Besides managing traffic lights, intelligent traffic management systems are able to recommend optimal routes for delivery trucks, taxis and buses to reduce travel time, save fuel, and improve the overall efficiency of public services. V2X-based traffic management can enable cooperation between vehicles over a larger area, which a single self-driving car would not be able to do on its own.

Ultimately, these applications of AI can be just as entertaining as a computer-generated image: we can live in a healthier environment and be safer, spending less time on the road.

Equality on the roads

We have regular public meetups in our Budapest office to explore the potential of vehicle communication from different perspectives. This time, our guest was Péter Dalos, a mobility expert from BKK, the Hungarian capital’s public mobility management company. András Váradi, Research Director at Commsignia, took part in the discussion. Read our summary of this great conversation.

At BKK, as the mobility manager, planner, and developer of Budapest, we see public transport as the “backbone” of urban mobility. However, besides walking and cycling that are traditional “limbs“ connecting to this “backbone”, a large market for shared services is emerging and we do not consider them to be competitors – said Peter Dalos of the BKK. Our aim is to integrate them into the larger transport system in a way that will make their customers also passengers of public transport services.

In order to reduce traffic hazards and road dangers, data from sensors, passenger counts, route planning applications and safety risk assessment based on hotspot identification are collected through multiple channels – Peter Dalos added. The operational public road manager monitors vehicle traffic via CCTV, and pilot projects are underway as well to monitor pedestrian traffic and optimize traffic flow.

Peter Dalos, BKK (left) and Andras Varadi, Commsignia (right)

Until now, urban transport development has been car-centric, so we are now focusing on taking data collection on sustainable transport modes to a more professional level.

Commsignia develops vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology for car manufacturers, and we also have a smart city business, supporting intersection connectivity. V2X provides data transfer between road users, so that what one car sees, knows or decides, other cars receive digitally, and they don’t have to locate, scan, predict or decide anything themselves – said Andras Varadi.

Vehicular communication is based on the idea that cars do not collide because they anonymously share their location, speed and direction. Connected vehicles can also be considered as moving sensors, and cities can use roadside devices to collect the shared information – Andras Varadi added. In the second generation of V2X, cars not only talk about themselves, but also about what they perceive with their onboard sensors, radars and cameras: whether they see a parking space, another car, a pedestrian.

Limited speed is the most important

Urban citizens are increasingly demanding a more humane environment. Less dangerous or perceived to be so, less noisy, without speeding vehicles in their neighborhoods. Shared micromobility service providers are pioneering in this respect, as they can remotely and automatically control the speed of their own vehicles by so called geofenced zones defined by BKK. For example, a virtual fence around a pedestrian zone forces all micromobility vehicles to slow down or not enter the zone with acceleration at all. Modern solutions really help to ensure that rules that used to be enforced with a lot of communication, monitoring and sanctions can be   enforced automatically in the near future.

And the question also arises:

Shared e-scooters have this by default. Why don’t we have this kind of on-board speed limit on shared cars or public utility vehicles?

If we are serious about Vision Zero and want to minimize the number of injury conflicts, the key is to ensure that large and heavy vehicles do not travel faster than 30 km/h in the city – Peter Dalos underlined.

The EU is trying to enforce speed limits through automatic cruise control, and I think it will soon be mandatory – replied Andras Varadi. This means that cars will have to be aware of the speed limit. This information can be distributed digitally, so that road signs don’t not have to be recognized by a camera, which can be challenging at night and in poor visibility conditions. If the speed information is posted as a digital message with certificates, there is no room for error, these software are highly reliable.

If only a few cars start obeying the rules, other cars and their drivers will follow, a whole wave of cars can be kept under control.

Andras Varadi mentioned that Commsignia has also experimented with using artificial intelligence to detect situations that could escalate into collisions before they happen. “In such cases, we don’t control traffic, just tweak the existing rules: change the traffic light rules, insert a speed limit.”

Giving back public space

BKK’s strategic aim is to return space to its original urban functions in actively used areas that have been flooded by cars. “To do so, we need to pay close attention to the behavior of the people at intersections, and understanding this will lead to much higher quality urban public spaces. If such a development is initiated, fewer people will unnecessarily burden the city with their car use.”

MOL Bubi is a bike-sharing service managed by the BKK, and its backend software sees the bikes that have accumulated due to sporting events for instance – said Peter Dalos. The dispatcher knows if there’s room for that many bikes, and there’s no need to call logistics, because two hours later, people will take away most of them. If the city had 200,000 shared bicycles instead of 2,000, it would make sense to use artificial intelligence to deal with such situations.

However, reducing the number of parking spaces, if the number of cars remains the same, leads to heavy traffic – adds Andras Varadi. V2X can help in the way mentioned earlier, when cars use their sensors to scan the streets for available parking spaces. Connected vehicles know whether it makes sense to drive into a particular street to look for a spot. A more sophisticated solution is automated valet parking: cars automatically park in a pre-designated space and automatically pull out when we want to move on. For now this only works in closed environments, and will be available on public roads after further developments.

Taking back control

Some urban citizens use technology to hack their environment: they set up non-existent virtual speed cameras in Waze because they are fed up with speeding on their street, and they see that it makes drivers go slower – said Péter Dalos. In many cases, however, these same solutions allow users to harm others. While some people avoid traffic jams by using apps, those living in quiet residential areas are not happy about the increased car traffic.

Apps are certainly influencing transport if there is no better alternative, says András Váradi.

V2X communication is a great way to put cities back in the driving seat.

The standardized language of V2X needs to be understood by everyone in traffic, and it’s used on a frequency dedicated to road safety.

V2X messages generated by cities will be displayed by cars: first only signs, suggestions, later full routes. Commsignia has research in which we propose complete routes to cars. Initially this only works with ambulances and first responders, but if a city’s infrastructure allows it, dynamically organized self-driving fleets can be driven from one point to another.

Building a better environment

Successful cities have a road safety strategy to reduce the danger on the roads and streets. Traffic safety is determined by three factors: human behavior, infrastructure and vehicles. Until the vast majority of vehicles and objects in the city are self-driving, the built environment will remain determining how vehicles driven by people, cyclists and pedestrians travel – Peter Dalos stressed.

Once algorithms can describe the behavior of people and vehicles in cities, no anomaly can ever be considered an accident

After all, an accident is an event made up of coincidences, but here we are talking about events that we know will happen. As part of BKK’s strategy, we do not consider injuries and deaths as accidents, but we believe that they are preventable through specific interventions – said Peter Dalos. These are not technology-dependent, but technology can help a lot: it can tell us where the first places are that we need to address.

This obviously requires penetration – added András Váradi – to get vehicle communication in as many cars as possible. Once this is in place, the system can reconfigure itself within a second in response to dangerous situations. If, for example, a V2X application detects emergency braking from three different cars, it’s trivial that something has happened, traffic needs to be slowed down, which can then be checked again by a human operator and modified a few seconds or minutes later.

In the second generation of V2X, when vehicles also share sensor data, it will be enough for every third car to communicate with each other to detect every other car, pedestrian and cyclist on the road. We are trying to map everything that could cause a safety-critical situation, even a piece of rock falling on the road, because it’s important information for the vehicles.

October is pedestrian safety month

Everyone walks a bit during the day. It’s basically a healthy activity, but pedestrian safety is a pressing issue. You have to be very careful if you want to get around in traffic. 

A pedestrian is killed in 17% of road collisions.

The US Department of Transportation is dedicating the entire month of October to pedestrian safety to raise awareness of the related issues. Their goals couldn’t be closer to Commsignia. We want to ensure that all road users communicate with each other and that vulnerable road users are always safe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has divided the month into four themes on its website last year, and we think we have answers to all of them.

Everyone deserves the highest quality of safety 

Technology cannot discriminate between modes of transport: everyone needs the same quality of safety. Commsignia’s broad V2X portfolio treats all road users equally. It’s also able to include unconnected pedestrians in the vehicle communication network, making vulnerable road users more visible to drivers.

Drive at a safe speed even if the rules have changed

Some trips take you through special events or areas that require more attention. Speed limits near schools and roadworks are often different from the usual. Rules can change from one hour to the next. For example, school children may be allowed to go home earlier. V2X will always inform you about the current speed limit.

It works even if you’ve left the traditional roadside sign behind and can’t remember what it said.  Digital solutions like V2X allow dynamic speed control, so restrictions can be lifted or eased when no one is working in a work zone.  

Connecting vehicles with each other for better road safety

Connected vehicles send standardized V2X messages with important parameters to upgrade well-known applications such as lane change assist, collision warning and cruise control by understanding traffic situations from the perspective of other vehicles. There’s no need to have a line of sight between the vehicles to share messages. V2X works in harsh weather conditions such as fog and heavy snow.

In addition to cars, Commsignia V2X also covers micromobility, so that pedestrians and two-wheeled vehicles can safely co-exist on the roads.

Safer roads are built on better insights

Traffic data provide a rock-solid foundation for well-designed roadways. Commsignia Central Data and Device Manager platform can use connected vehicles and smart sensors to collect information on potential conflict zones. So road managers know exactly where to improve the built environment – before serious collisions happen.

World Car Free Day and fuel efficiency go hand in hand

Today is World Car Free Day, and we are proud to support efforts to make all modes of transport more equal and improve fuel efficiency. Our technology, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, is designed to do just that.

We all enjoy car-free days, when festivals, family events, cyclists and pedestrians take over the roads in cities. All this reminds us that the streets used to be a place of community life, and that we didn’t just pass through them on our way to distant destinations. Feeling safe and secure is a prerequisite for community life, and Commsignia wants to help make this happen.

It’s important to add that it’s easy to think of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology as car-centric, but in fact we’re trying to involve every single road user in the V2X ecosystem. Besides vehicles, V2X provides improved road safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and micromobility.

V2X helps road users be aware they are sharing the road with others.

Although cars stop for this one day, there are some vehicles that need to be on the road at all times. One example is public transport, where V2X helps to ensure smooth journeys.

If buses have to stop less often at traffic lights because V2X gives them a clear path through the intersection, their fuel consumption is significantly reduced and they emit fewer pollutants.

Goods trucks also need to keep moving. Advanced V2X applications such as platooning help freight trucks travel very close together with minimal drag.

Vehicle communications coordinate huge vehicles for better fuel efficiency

It is worth noting that the initiative for a car-free world day was originally triggered by the 1973 oil crisis, and today there are again serious fuel supply problems. Climate change and emissions are also issues that are being addressed by cities and transport managers around the world. 

V2X is here to help address these issues and move us towards a more efficient, safer and cleaner world.

Build Safe Streets and Roads for All with V2X solutions

More than ten thousand road fatalities happened at intersections last year in the United States, most of them in urban areas. Speeding and multi-vehicle crashes also greatly contribute to poor road safety.

Some road infrastructure owners have already started to plan and build smart intersections to improve road safety. Now they are getting a huge boost from the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program which will provide a total of $5 billion over five years to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.

Now you can learn how vehicle-to-everything (V2X) will help these developments with better results. Commsignia offers end-to-end V2X solutions and recommends these 5 steps to build a comprehensive and future-proof system. This will allow you to keep the number of road fatalities and injuries at a permanently low level.

1. Generate more data

Vehicles generate a vast amount of information, and V2X provides real-time access to this valuable data source. Installing V2X on-board units (OBU) on fleets allow operators to be up-to-date with the vehicles’ statuses. 

Smart sensors like cameras, radars and lidar can be integrated with V2X roadside units (RSU) so traffic safety experts will know more about non-connected road users. Pedestrians and two-wheeled vehicles are better protected if infrastructure owners and operators have real-time information on their presence.

2. Connect your assets

Roadside units turn signalized intersections into smart intersections. Traffic light controllers connected to RSUs broadcast accurate status information to road users, so they can choose the right speed to avoid running red lights.

Variable Message Signs display dynamic speed limit and road hazard information for drivers. The same information can be delivered through V2X messages over a much larger area, directly to the vehicles’ dashboard. It will be harder to miss critical information!

3. Use data to plan safe streets

Commsignia Central visualizes data in an easy-to-understand interface. V2X and sensor data help road authorities better understand traffic offenses and conflicts in an area. They can even find situations that almost become collisions. In addition to collecting data, Commsignia Central allows road operators to create and upload V2X messages to the RSUs.

The built-in management tools ensure the continuous operation of the V2x infrastructure by monitoring the roadside equipment.

4. Optimize signal timing for equity

Urban maintenance such as roadside mowing, garbage collection and snow plowing can make drivers impatient. V2X applications allow priority emergency vehicles and publicly owned fleets to request a free pass at signalized intersections. Faster moving fleets create less disruption in traffic and lower the risk of crashes.

V2X can make public transport more predictable and attractive, because buses can catch up with the schedule with a few longer green lights. A similar approach can be taken to promote walking and cycling. After detecting the presence of pedestrians and cyclists, traffic signals can quickly turn green or provide longer crossing time. This will make active mobility more convenient.

5. Prepare the infrastructure for self-driving

Self-driving vehicles can cause fewer crashes than human drivers, but their algorithms need to use huge amounts of data. V2X provides accurate information, therefore self-driving cars make better decisions with less data processing, and they will move faster and safer on the roads.

Details about the SS4A grants can be found on the USDOT website. Find out how to apply in their webinar series covering Action Plan Grants, Implementation Grants and the general overview of this funding opportunity.

For related Commsignia products, please contact [email protected].

How V2X solutions work

Vehicle-to-everything, or V2X solutions connect road users with each other and the infrastructure. International standards ensure that cars, motorcycles, bicycles and roadside equipment from different manufacturers send messages to each other in a language they all understand.

V2X has a range of more than half a mile and does not require a direct line of sight, expanding the space where we perceive other objects in traffic.

Connectivity in the automotive industry

Vehicles generate messages with a V2X software stack. It can run on a dedicated V2X OBU, a retrofitted on-board unit, but car manufacturers usually install it on their own electronic equipment.

V2X is like a heartbeat, vehicles typically send ten messages per second. These messages contain important parameters such as the accurate geographical location, the actual speed, velocity and direction of the vehicle, and the status of brakes and hazard warning lights.

Vehicles receiving V2X messages run applications based on this vast amount of information to display alerts of potential dangers. Messages can be read by all V2X-enabled vehicles, but only the relevant ones are used. In most cases, messages from a car on the other side of the highway are not useful from a safety point of view. Unless the data tells us that the vehicle is going off the road, possibly crossing our path.

Applications are divided into several categories according to their level of complexity.

  • Day 1 applications includes basic awareness solutions, all of which are technically feasible today. These apps provide alerts about traffic jams, accidents, objects on the road, construction zones and poor weather or road conditions. 
  • Some of the more advanced Day 2 applications are still under development or finalization. One of the best-known Day 2 apps is platooning, which coordinates autonomous and cooperative driving of high-speed caravans of trucks to move efficiently.

Road safety applications use a dedicated radio frequency on the 5.9 GHz band, because life-saving V2X solutions require direct connection with low latency. Other information that is less sensitive to response time, such as weather and traffic conditions, can be shared over 4G or 5G connections.

Smart infrastructure

The V2X RSU or roadside unit is an important part of the V2X ecosystem. It has its own processing power, sends and receives messages. An RSU also acts like a hub for roadside sensors: smart cameras, radars and lidars. These sensors are usually installed by the road infrastructure owner to look at the traffic – from a different angle than cars. RSUs play an important role in recognizing the unconnected traffic participants, particularly the vulnerable road users. 

RSUs has the ability to forward traffic data to the Commsignia Central Data and Device Manager software to enable traffic managers visualizing road events on a map. Central can also be used for device maintenance and V2X message creation.

Several elements of traditional road infrastructure can be linked to the RSUs. For example, traffic light controllers can provide signal phase and timing information via V2X for trucks and normal passenger cars. Moreover, first responders, buses and urban maintenance fleets can even request priority at V2X-enabled intersections. In Denver, Colorado, snowplow trucks cross intersections by requesting a green light, causing less disruption to traffic.

V2X solutions are essential for self-driving vehicles, because messages contain more accurate information than the vehicle’s sensors can detect. In Las Vegas, self-driving taxis are receiving traffic light information from Commsignia RSUs to improve decision making and move through intersections faster.

The evolution of V2X solutions

Security in V2X solutions

The whole V2X system is built up in a way to prevent tracking and protect the users’ privacy. The messages don’t contain personally identifiable information.

The messaging is secure, authenticated by digital signatures. No one wants to see information in a car coming from unknown sources, just as we don’t want to receive spam, scam and phishing emails in our inbox. 

Cars have certificates to prove their authenticity. They have thousands of certificates that frequently change to prevent tracking. The whole certification system has been built up in a way that no one entity, no one authority sees the whole picture. Those who roll out the certificates don’t know which car will get those certificates.

Bicycles And E-scooters Are Safer With V2X

Commsignia is strengthening road safety by integrating micromobility, pedestrians and vehicles into smart cities through vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies. V2X is the umbrella term for communication solutions that enable road users to see each other, even when they are not clearly visible.

The main cause of bicycle crashes:
drivers don’t see them

Over 75 percent of bicycle road fatalities happen because drives just don’t see smaller vehicles. On-board car sensors help a lot to cover blind spots, but under certain conditions the warnings come late. V2X not only provides a real-time data flow between traffic participants in a wider area, but this technology has the added benefit of seeing through walls.

Users of V2X communicate directly with each other

  • No network coverage is needed for road safety applications
  • Anonymized identifiers ensure data privacy
  • Messages contain essential traffic information such as position, heading and speed of road users

Contextual awareness increases confidence and improves the user experience of micromobility services. V2X safety applications give riders time to prepare for an unexpected situation.

  • vehicle behind’, 
  • ‘hidden vehicle approaching behind the corner’ 

V2X works both ways, providing vehicle drivers alerts about micromobility riders in their blind spot, so they can avoid right and left cross crashes or door hits.

Dedicated for road safety

V2X works on the 5.9 GHz radio frequency, an open band that is dedicated for road safety applications. Commsignia’s provides the necessary IoT hardware and software components to enable V2X on vehicles.

We can also make it possible for unconnected users to be part of the V2X world. Hundreds of smart sensors and cameras installed by cities identify cars, e-scooters, bicycles and pedestrians in the traffic, and Commsignia’s roadside units can generate V2X warnings based on these detections. V2X-enabled vehicles can also receive these notifications. 

Cities are increasingly open to the use of V2X. There’s a wide range of applications at their disposal, such as the ability to adjust traffic lights by detecting vehicles. But the V2X ecosystem have a much greater potential. Vehicle data will help improve the road network in a unique way: fine details such as frequent braking of cars near micromobility road users indicate near-miss incidents which could lead to collisions in heavy traffic, but road managers can intervene before they happen.

Commsignia has been building the V2X ecosystem for more than 10 years with deployments throughout the US and Europe, and OEM deals will bring V2X technologies to millions of cars in the coming years.