Recent research has shown that both radio and visible light waves can be used to enable communications in highly dynamic vehicular environments. However, the roles of these two technologies and how they interact with each other in future vehicular communication systems remain unclear. Understanding the propagation characteristics is an essential step in investigating the benefits and shortcomings of each technology. To this end, we discuss salient properties of radio and visible light propagation channels, including radiation pattern, path loss modeling, noise and interference, and channel time variation. Comparison of these properties provides an important insight that the two communication channels can complement each other’s capabilities in terms of coverage and reliability, thus better satisfying the diverse requirements of future cooperative intelligent transportation systems.