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THE VIEW Vision and Focus Shelley Row

All our eggs are in the DSRC basket. Now is a good time to diversify

Shelley Row is the former Director of the US DOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office and is now building a new career as a motivational speaker and business coach.;;@shelleyrow


’m worried. I’m worried that, because of years’ worth of rhetoric, public agencies have been convinced

to put all their eggs in the DSRC basket. (Yes, I was part of that rhetoric. I wish that made it right.) Certainly, DSRC has a safety role; safety is a high priority for public agencies but it isn’t their only interest. Let’s take a step back, with public agencies in mind, and look at the big picture of connected vehicles. Perhaps that perspective would bring more balance and pragmatism into our approach to connected vehicles using all communication technologies. In doing so state and local governments will receive better advice to guide their investments. My concern was heightened aſter

attending the Connected Vehicle Trade Association Summit in Novi, Michigan (excellent program, by the way). I was struck by the difference in focus between those aligned with governments (Federal/State and companies tied to government by regulation) and the rest of the connected vehicle industry (I use “connected vehicle” to include any type of communication technology). For the rest of the industry, the

connected vehicle marketplace is moving ahead rapidly as market share and consumer products hang in the balance. Embedded cellular is multiplying, the capabilities of new generation cellular are growing, connectivity encompasses more of the day, vehicle-to-cloud (V2C) is growing and data flows. Using GPS data from portable navigation devices, nav systems in cars and smartphones, Nokia gathers


21 billion data points per month from drivers.1

Today there are 750m location-

enabled devices in the US of which 20m are embedded in vehicles and 314m are cell phones.2

Tis is becoming a multi-

billion dollar industry –without DSRC. Government-aligned players, on the

other hand, are waiting to exhale as the NHTSA decision is batted about by prognosticators. What will NHTSA say: “Yes-no-maybe so”? We, it seems, intend to hold our breath waiting for DSRC until we are blue in the face. Instead of turning blue we should diversify our “eggs.” Here are three points that illustrate why I believe we need a better-balanced discussion.

• Strategically: NHTSA’s decision will be some form of yes-no-maybe so. If NHTSA clearly says “yes” (they intend to pursue regulation), then governments can plan for how or if they wish to use DSRC. If NHTSA clearly says “no” (they do not intend to pursue regulation) then different connected vehicle technologies need to be examined that will meet public agency needs. Te worst option is “maybe so” (more study or data is needed for all or part of the system). In that case, momentum may be lost, other technologies close the gap, or industry loses interest. In that situation, other options also need to be examined. Of the three NHTSA choices, two suggest that a viewpoint broader than DSRC would be prudent.

• Technically: AASHTO recently released its National Connected Vehicle Field Infrastructure Footprint Analysis that provides some consideration of non-DSRC communication methods; however, the focus is clearly on DSRC as DSRC infrastructure is the “more demanding case.”3 Analysis4

Te Design Gaps highlights several critical

REFERENCES (http://ssom. Pages/Connected- Vehicles.aspx).

1 Cunningham, Wayne. (August 29, 2013). Big Data to Make Driving Safer. CNET Reviews: Te Car Tech Blog. http:// reviews.cnet. com/8301- 13746_7- 57599417-48/ big-data-to-make- driving-safer/

2 Mai, Andreas. Cisco. Presentation at CVTA Summit, September 11, 2013.

3 AASHTO Footprint Analysis Design Concepts v1. September 2013. p. 4.

4 http://ssom. transportation. org/Documents/ AASHTO_ Footprint_ Analysis_Design_ Gaps_Analysis_ v1.docx

5 http://ssom. transportation. org/Documents/ Task%204%20 App_Grps_ v00.03.docx

issues for public agencies. Specifically:

o As has been known, the basic safety message part 1 (BSM1) was designed for V2V safety applications and is lacking data elements needed for some public agency applications (Gaps 7 and 8). Te AASHTO application analysis concludes that many public agency applications will not be available with just the BSM1.5 Te following two are of particular interest to agencies, but even with a “yes” decision they will not be available.

• Real-time road weather information, and • Probe-based pavement maintenance.

o Te AASHTO applications analysis looked at cellular and DSRC options. Each of the following applications can be done with either technology; however, cellular does not require new roadside infrastructure. Te time to deployment (and, hence, benefits) would likely be shorter given today’s significant penetration of cellular (embedded or otherwise).

• Connected vehicle-enabled origin-destination studies;

• Queue warning; • Red light violation warning; • Stop sign violation; and

• Probe-enabled traffic monitoring (available today using cellular).

• Financially: Additionally, the AASHTO gap analysis points out that today no ecosystem, value chain or business model has surfaced for public agency applications nor is there an obvious incentive for data providers to share additional data (Gaps 27 and 28). Tis is in stark contrast to today’s booming ecosystem in the private sector.

Again, I do not discount DSRC safety applications. I am, however, concerned for public agencies. Te dialogue is so weighted to DSRC that it sucks all the air out of the room and excludes discussion of other options that may be cheaper and quicker. Let’s exhale, throw open the windows, take a breath of fresh air and start talking about redistributing those eggs.

Vol 8 No 3 North America

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