Monday, August 4, 2008

European Commission Reserves 5.9 GHz Spectrum for Road Safety

The European Commission will reserve a single radio spectrum band across Europe for use by smart vehicle communications systems.

The decision provides a single EU-wide frequency band that can be used for immediate and reliable communication between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure. A total of 30 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9 Gigahertz (GHz) band which will be allocated within the next six months by national authorities across Europe to road safety applications, without barring other services already in place (such as radio amateur services).

The EC estimates that smart vehicle communication systems have the potential to make roads significantly safer. In 2006, more than 42,000 people died in road accidents in the European Union and more than 1.6 million were injured while every day there are some 7,500 km of traffic jams on the EU's roads.

A typical example is the case of a vehicle detecting a slippery patch on a road: if it is equipped with a cooperative car-to-car communication device, it can deliver this information -- thanks to the 5.9 GHz band -- to all cars located nearby. If a traffic management center needs to inform drivers about a sudden road closure, the alternative route to take or speed limits, it will also be able to send this information to a transmitter detector along the respective road, which then passes it on to the vehicles driving by.