Delegates at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt have approved international agreements that will help pave the way for better smart-city transportation.
The agreements at ITU’s treaty-making conference on radiocommunications aim to improve traffic management, public transportation systems, road safety, train safety and railway traffic control – among other aspects of transportation that aim to leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) to make the world’s cities safer and ‘smarter.’
Specifically, delegates representing governments from across the world have approved a new Recommendation on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and a new Resolution on railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside (RSTT).
The new ITU Recommendation – “Harmonization of frequency bands for evolving Intelligent Transport Systems applications under mobile service allocations” – starts out by laying out some important context regarding the need to harmonize radio-frequency spectrum for ITS.
For instance, it mentions the “need to integrate various technologies, including radiocommunications, into land transportation systems.”
It also points out that “many new connected vehicles use intelligent technologies in the vehicles’ combined advanced traffic management, advanced traveller information, advanced public transportation management systems and/or advanced fleet management systems to improve traffic management.”
The new Recommendation also recognizes that “harmonized spectrum and international standards facilitate worldwide deployment of evolving ITS radiocommunications and provide for economies of scale in bringing evolving ITS equipment and services to the public.”
The Recommendation urges government administrations to “consider using globally or regionally harmonized frequency bands or parts thereof, as described in the most recent versions of Recommendations (e.g. ITU R M.2121), when planning and deploying evolving ITS applications.”
It also invites ITU Member States and Sector Members to participate actively in and to contribute to ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) studies on aspects of ITS and evolving ITS (e.g. connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, adaptive driver assistance systems), through the ITU R Study Groups.
The new Resolution – “Spectrum harmonization for railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside (RSTT) within the existing mobile-service allocation” – starts by establishing the social and economic importance of railway transportation, especially for developing countries.
RSTT refers to radiocommunication systems providing improved railway traffic control, passenger safety and improved security for train operations, says the new Resolution, adding that the main categories of applications of RSTT are train radio, train positioning information, train remote and train surveillance.
The Resolution lays out “that spectrum harmonization of train radio application of RSTT may have priority among the four categories of RSTT applications, because train radio application provides for train dispatching, train control and other important railway services which is used to ensure the safety of train operations and passengers, and require high reliability and high quality of services.”
The Resolution also says that the implementation of future RSTT “needs to take account of the development of the railway industry.”
In addition, the new Resolution states that “there may be a need to integrate different technologies across multiple bands in order to facilitate various functions, for instance dispatching commands, operating control and data transmission, into railway train and trackside systems to also meet the needs of a high-speed railway environment.”
The Resolution recognizes that ITU-R is developing a Recommendation to facilitate the spectrum harmonization of current and evolving RSTT.
The Resolution invites ITU-R to continue the development of the Recommendation, preferably finalize it before 2023, and to “further develop and update ITU-R Recommendations/Reports concerning technical and operational implementation of RSTT, as appropriate.”
The Resolution also encourages administrations, when planning for their RSTT, to consider ITU-R study results as well as other relevant ITU-R deliverables, with a view to facilitate spectrum harmonization for RSTT, in particular for train radio application.
It also invites administrations to encourage railway agencies and organizations to utilize relevant ITU-R publications in implementing technologies and systems supporting RSTT.
The resolution also mentions, however, that administrations have flexibility to determine how much spectrum to make available for RSTT as well as the conditions for usage at the national level in order to meet their particular national and/or regional requirements.
It also points out that the technologies for RSTT are evolving and international or regional organizations, such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the International Union of Railways (UIC), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), etc., are developing specifications for technologies and new functions to evolve RSTT.