Researchers identify that initial costs for backhaul deployment per connected vehicle field infrastructure site may range from $3,000 to $40,000 per site

Researchers identify costs for connected vehicle field infrastructure deployment and related costs in the United States

Nationwide; United States

Summary Information

The USDOT in partnership with Transport Canada, AASHTO and in cooperation with other nationwide stakeholders, conducted analyses leading to a preliminary general concept of a national Connected Vehicle (CV) field infrastructure footprint. The footprint includes a general description for a proposed national deployment of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology including, applications, communications and deployment locations. The purpose of the National CV Field Infrastructure Footprint Analysis is to provide a vision for a fully deployed infrastructure footprint, to identify the activities and project timelines needed to achieve that footprint, and to estimate costs associated with the deployment.

As part of the research effort to identify overall connected vehicle infrastructure costs, the following outlines the estimated costs for establishing connectivity from connected vehicle infrastructure to back end servers and TMCs (backhaul deployment costs). Installing new backhaul connectivity or upgrading existing equipment requires additional planning, design and deployment efforts that are specific to the deployment jurisdiction and are separate from the deployment of the RSU and supporting local site infrastructure. These costs nonetheless could be considered as part of a national deployment since potential connected vehicle applications may require backhaul communications to achieve their full benefit to safety and mobility.

The individual cost estimates listed in Table 1 were derived from the deployment costs observed at test bed sites and are based on a number of assumptions as outlined below. The total cost estimate of deploying sufficient backhaul connectivity to support a deployment will be heavily dependent on the type of backhaul systems currently used by the local jurisdiction deploying the RSU. Costs for backhaul vary based on the number of sites that have existing infrastructure that can support connected vehicle applications (and the required bandwidth) versus those that will require an upgrade or new equipment, as well as a number of sites that will use leased lines for backhaul.

Table 1 -Costs Associated with Backhaul Installation (Source: USDOT/AASHTO 2014)

Deployment Site
Reported Backhaul Cost
Construction Inspection
System Integration & License
Traffic Control
Total Backhaul Cost

Qualifying assumptions include:
  • Planning –15% of implementation cost –The costs of the development of a communications plan (or modification of an existing plan) to determine how the connected vehicle backhaul will be implemented. This cost also includes the development of an Internet Protocol addressing plan and an overall network plan
  • Design –20% of implementation cost –Design includes all of the design costs associated with deploying the new backhaul infrastructure at a specific location
  • Construction inspection –15% of reported backhaul cost –Construction Inspection includes the cost of overseeing construction, reviewing contractor submittals for radios and other hardware to be deployed. This cost also includes testing at the site to ensure full functionality
  • System Integration and License -$1500/site –This effort includes the costs associated with licenses for any backhaul radios and any other integration of a new or upgraded backhaul into an existing system. This does not include hardware, rather the cost to change settings in databases, network monitoring software, firewalls, switches, routers, etc.
  • Traffic Control -$0/site, if done in conjunction with DSRC installation
Backhaul connectivity would be implemented differently across the nation and consequently the estimated backhaul costs per site are subject to more variability. For example, some sites require minimal backhaul investment where current capacity is sufficient, such as the Anthem, Arizona, and Northern Virginia deployments. At these two sites, the costs are limited to design and integration with existing backhaul infrastructure with minimal additional costs for hardware. Where existing capacity is insufficient to handle the anticipated bandwidth requirements for connected vehicle communications, other sites will require new or upgraded backhaul infrastructure. The costs for these sites are dependent upon the specific architecture and design of the local agency and can range from low capital cost options with ongoing operational expenses (as in the case of leased lines) which will increase ongoing operational costs as a result of subscription contracts and fees, to dedicated wireless communications, to higher cost options, such as the deployment of new fiber optic communications, as discussed in the Deployment Concepts appendix. For the purposes of the overall 20-year cost, the initial cost for backhaul per site, including planning, design, hardware and labor, will range from approximately $3,000 per site to over $40,000 per site based on the data points used for this cost analysis. For the purpose of generating total national cost, the following assumptions are being made:
  • Existing Traffic Signal Backhaul
    • 10% of all traffic signals have a high bandwidth backhaul connection and do not require significant upgrades, but will require integration of existing equipment
    • 20% of all traffic signals have an existing backhaul connection that requires an "easy" upgrade (e.g., upgrading a wireless system that already has all of the power, antenna mountings, cabinets, etc. to a more robust system)
    • 30% of all traffic signals have an existing backhaul connection that requires either a "hard" upgrade or a completely new backhaul system.
    • 40% of all traffic signals have either no existing backhaul or will require a completely new backhaul system
  • Freeway Sites
    • 75% of all freeway sites have a high bandwidth backhaul connection and do not require significant upgrades
    • 25% of all freeway sites do not have a high bandwidth backhaul connection and will require a significant upgrade or a completely new backhaul system
  • Backhaul Cost Estimates
    • For those sites with sufficient backhaul capacity, it is estimated that planning, integration of existing equipment, etc. will cost $3,000 per site
    • For those sites with an existing backhaul connection that require an easy upgrade, the upgrade is estimated to cost $22,000 per site
    • For those sites requiring a completely new backhaul deployment or a hard upgrade, it is estimated to cost $40,000 per site to provide sufficient backhaul for connected vehicle applications
Table 2 -Estimated Backhaul Upgrade Costs (Source: USDOT/AASHTO 2014)
Backhaul Upgrade Categories
Estimated Cost Per Site
Integration of Existing Equipment
“Easy? Upgrade of Existing Equipment
“Hard? Upgrade of Existing Equipment
Installation of New Backhaul

These costs do not include the cost of upgrading some or all networking components to support Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) functionality needed for DSRC. Rather, it is assumed that most of the affected network switches, firewall, and routers support IPv6 functionality, and that existing tunneling solutions will be used where IPv6 networks are separated by Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) connections.
Table 3 below illustrates the distribution of costs across both signalized and freeway deployment locations for different types of backhaul upgrades.

Table 3 -Estimated Total Cost of Backhaul Upgrade (Source: USDOT/AASHTO 2014)
Type of Location/Backhaul - Signalized Locations
Number of Sites
Cost Per Site
Integration of Existing Equipment (10%)
“Easy? Upgrade (20%)
“Hard? Upgrade (30%)
Installation of New Backhaul (40%)
Type of Location/Backhaul - Freeway Locations
Number of Sites
Cost Per Site
Integration of Existing Equipment (75%)
“Hard? Upgrade or Installation of New Equipment (25%)

This report, dated June 2014, includes many more details of connected vehicle system costs. These findings along with the costs provide a valuable resource to those considering the implementation of connected vehicle infrastructure.

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National Connected Vehicle Field Infrastructure Footprint Analysis Final Report

Author: Wright, James (AASHTO),

Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) ITS Joint Program Office (JPO)

Source Date: 06/27/2014

Other Reference Number: Report No. FHWA-JPO-14-125


System Cost

Average Costs Associated with Backhaul Installation for V2I Infrastructure $21,700


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Related Unit Cost Subsystems

Roadside Telecommunications (RS-TC)


Connected vehicle, DSRC, equipment, installation, design, communication, backhaul, hardware, field infrastructure, deployment

Cost ID: 2014-00324