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 trucks (e.g. in Germany and, on a limited basis, Illinois) and only exists as a proposal for all vehicles (to replace or supplement the motor fuel tax, for example). It has been tested on a pilot basis in Oregon and 12 cities in the U.S. as part of a 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. Experience with two of the more well known pilot programs in the U.S. to date are summarized on the websites provided.
Oregon: Road User Fee Pilot Program - Oregon Department of Transportation pilot tested a road user fee from spring 2006 to spring 2007 as a state legislature-directed attempt to seek an alternate way to raise revenue for transportation from the state's motor fuel tax. A Final Report summarizing the findings of the pilot program was released in November 2007.
Iowa: Road User Study - As part of the Transportation Policy Research Program, the University of Iowa Public Policy Center is conducting a National Evaluation of a Mileage-Based Road User Charge. This four-year study involves placing an on-board computer or OBC into participants' vehicles. Data are then collected from both the technology and the participants. Participants have been selected from six locations nationwide and range in age, education, and background. The GPS located in the OBC in participants' vehicles keeps track of the number miles they travel and submits the information to the University of Iowa Public Policy Center to be processed and evaluated. The study involves two major issues: 1) testing the appropriateness of the technology and 2) looking at user accessibility and acceptability.