Japan Cabinet is considering to put 5G base stations on traffic lights

A Japanese government proposal to be considered by Japan’s Cabinet next week is to give the four main Japanese telcos, NTT, KDDI, Softbank and Rakuten, permission to instal 5G base stations on traffic lights.

The idea was included in the government’s IT strategy as a route to accelerating the roll-out and reducing the cost of 5G deployment.

The plan covers around 200,000 traffic signals which are controlled by local governments. Interestingly enough, Japanese traffic lights are actually the bluest shade of green legally possible. Japan is also one of the few countries in the world that hasn’t signed the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals, which among other things specifies that traffic lights must be red, amber (yellow), and green.

Local authorities are being encouraged to give permission for the installations by the prospect of using the base stations for emergency and C2V communications for autonomous driving.

Testing of 5G base stations installations on traffic lights is to begin next year and run through 2021.

A nationwide 5G network, requiring several hundred thousand base stations, is planned for 2023.

The shorter range of 5G signals compared to 4G signals requires telcos to find many new base station sites.