Road Pricing Defined
Vehicle-miles Traveled (VMT) Fees
VMT fees are distance-based fees levied on a vehicle user for use of a roadway system. As opposed to tolls, which are facility specific and not necessarily levied strictly on a per-mile basis, these fees are based on the distance driven on a defined network of roadways. To date, this method of revenue generation has been implemented only for 5,000 volunteer motorists in Oregon beginning July 1, 2015 and for trucks (e.g. in Germany and, on a limited basis, Illinois). It has been previously tested on a pilot basis in Oregon in 2007 (Road User Fee Pilot Project) and 2012 (Road Usage Charge Pilot Project) and, separately, in 12 cities in the U.S. as part of a SAFETEA-LU-authorized National Evaluation of a Mileage-Based Road User Charge study conducted by the University of Iowa.
In a broad sense VMT fees' application is envisioned through the use of an onboard vehicle device to capture the distance driven by a vehicle through GPS or other technology and relate that to a method of charging, which could range from manual cash payment to automatic deduction for a prepaid customer account.
A large number of publications on VMT fees are available throughout the Road Pricing website.
- Road Pricing Study Reports - These technical reports present the results of program or region-specific VMT fee feasibility studies, surveys, or demonstration projects.
- Mileage-based User Fee Technology Study (RITA) - A preliminary assessment of nine potential implementation packages of mileage-based user fee technology.
- Alternative Approaches to Funding Highways (Congressional Budget Office) - Examines a broad range of alternatives for federal funding of highways, including VMT fees, and assessing equity, efficiency, and privacy issues.
- Highway Trust Fund: Pilot Program Could Help Determine Viability of Mileage Fees for Certain Vehicles (Government Accountability Office) - Examines the benefits and challenges of VMT fee initiatives in the U.S. and abroad, mileage fee rates necessary to replace and supplement current Highway Trust Fund revenues, and state DOTs' views on future revenue demands and mileage fees.
- Vehicle Mileage Fee Primer (Texas) - 2009 Primer providing an overview of VMT fees.
- Alternatives to the Motor Fuel Tax (Oregon) - Updates a prior National Highway Cooperative Research Program study on alternatives to motor fuel taxes analyzing economic and technological issues related to fuel tax alternatives.
- Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Revenue Approaches Policy Issue Paper (Wisconsin) - Policy brief examining the issue of replacing Wisconsin's motor fuel tax with a VMT fee, including statutory, policy, and operational challenges, pros and cons of various implementation methods, revenue options using different VMT rates, and equity issues.
- Guidelines for Shaping Perceptions of Fairness of Transportation Infrastructure Policies: The Case of a Vehicle Mileage Tax (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) - Guidelines based on a study on individuals' perceptions of fairness towards a VMT-based transportation funding policy using the regulatory focus theory, useful in guiding outreach messaging strategies for related policies.
- Mileage-Based User Fees: Defining a Path toward Implementation (Texas Transportation Institute)
Phase 1: Identifying a Research Strategy
Phase 2: An Assessment of Technology Issues
Phase 2: An Assessment of Institutional Issues
Reports documenting the activities of a two-phase research effort based on the mileage-based user fee framework supported by the University Transportation Center for Mobility.
- Proceedings of the 2009 Symposium on Mileage-Based User Fees (Texas Transportation Institute) - Summarizes VMT fee U.S. pilot projects, the federal perspective, and panel discussions on institutional issues, public acceptance, technology, the state and local perspectives, and stakeholder perspectives.
- A New Approach to Assessing Road User Charges (University of Iowa) - Summarizes early research into assessing road user charges, including smart vehicle technology, privacy, convenience, and ability to include desirable features such as on-board navigation and emergency vehicle location.
- VMT-Based Fees: Issues and Considerations from a Multi-State Perspective (I-95 Corridor Coalition) - Summary of a brainstorming session on VMT fees to gain input on the appropriate role for the I-95 Corridor Coalition in a multi-state VMT-based fee program or pilot, as well as the scope of a multi-state VMT-based fee case study project.
- Moving Toward Vehicle Miles of Travel Fees to Replace Fuel Taxes (RAND Corporation) - Provides a short analysis of VMT fee implementation options, assesses technical options as well as technical, institutional, and political challenges, and recommends a comprehensive system trial to resolve uncertainties.
- Vehicle Miles Traveled Fees: A Trends in America Special Report (Council of State Governments) - Reviews the state of the practice in VMT fee consideration and application through 2009, including: definitions, benefits, pilot projects, international applications to trucks, obstacles to implementation, public acceptance issues, and findings from other research.
- System Trials to Demonstrate Mileage-Based Road Use Charges (National Cooperative Highway Research Program) - Explores options for scoping and organizing such VMT fee system trials.
- Implementable Strategies for Shifting to Direct Usage-Based Charges for Transportation Funding (National Cooperative Highway Research Program) - Identifies a range of options that might support the near-term implementation of a national system of VMT fees and evaluates their relative strengths and weaknesses.
- Discerning the Pathway to Implementation of a National Mileage-Based Charging System (Transportation Research Board) - Develops and proposes concepts for research and demonstration programs to test the technical and political feasibility of road use metering and mileage charging.
- Costs of Alternative Revenue-Generation Systems (National Cooperative Highway Research Program) Develops a methodology to analyze and compare the administrative, collection, and compliance (enforcement) costs of systems for highway revenue generation and to apply that the methodology to a selected set of usage-based revenue systems: cordon pricing, tolling, VMT fees, motor fuel taxes, and parking.