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Road Pricing: Study Reports

Mileage-based User Fees (VMT Fees)

National Evaluation of a Mileage-based Road User Charge - Multistate
Authorized in SAFETEA-LU, the University of Iowa Public Policy Center conducted an extensive set of trials using on-board units involving approximately 2,650 participants in 12 locations around the country from 2008 to 2010, including Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore, Billings, Boise, Chicago, eastern Iowa, Miami, Portland (Maine), the Research Triangle in North Carolina, San Diego, and Wichita. Participants were surveyed before, during, and after the trials to gauge their acceptance of the fees.

Georgia Tech: Commute Atlanta Study - Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia Tech conducted the Commute Atlanta study to examine the effects of converting fuel taxes, registration fees, and insurance costs to variable costs for about 475 vehicles. Participants kept travel diaries and additional data on location, speed, and acceleration was collected by on-board GPS devices. The second part of the study focused on travel behavior using a mileage-based incentive simulation. Participants earned rebates on travel costs if they drove fewer miles than in the previous year, ranging from 5 cents per mile not driven up to 15 cents per mile.

Mileage-Based User Fee Public Opinion Study: Summary Report Phase I (Qualitative) (2007) - Twin Cities, Minnesota
Phase I of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Pay-As-You-Drive experiment involved qualitative research to understand the public opinion regarding a mileage-based user fee alternative to the current motor fuel tax. Completed in 2007, this study summarizes the applied methodology, sampling, key takeaways, and conclusions based on a series of focus groups regarding mileage-based user fees.

Mileage-Based User Fee Demonstration Project: Potential Public Policy Implications of Pay-As-You-Drive Leasing and Insurance Products (2006) - Twin Cities, Minnesota
In this 2006 report, issues with pricing auto travel are described, and how pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) products can provide another public policy management tool to help reduce or manage auto travel. The attractiveness of PAYD products were empirically tested in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul through a demonstration project conducted under the auspices of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The data generated by the market and state preference surveys in addition to field experiments point the way for implementation of PAYD concepts. This study details those lessons learned, evaluates the level of interest in PAYD leasing and insurance, potential impacts on travel, and recommendations for next steps.

Mileage-Based User Fee Demonstration Project: Pay-As-You-Drive - Experimental Findings (2006) - Twin Cities, Minnesota
With support from a Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) value pricing grant, this 2006 report was prepared for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to present the findings of the Pay-As-You-Drive experiment. This experiment tested the feasibility of converting the fixed costs of a personal auto to variable costs as one way of using consumer price signals to reduce vehicle miles traveled and ultimately highway congestion. The study discusses the experiment design, including in-vehicle technology, incentive schedule and exit surveys; experiment implementation over the twelve-month period, findings and survey analyses.

Mileage-Based User Fee Demonstration Project: Market Assessment Survey Results (2005) - Twin Cities, Minnesota
This technical memorandum, completed in September 2005, describes the market assessment survey and state preference survey results for the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Pay-As-You-Drive experiment. In addition to the qualitative research on the pay-as-you-drive concept and private sector interest in commercial products related to mileage-based pricing conducted previously, the market assessment survey, state preference survey and completed field experiment comprise the quantitative element of the study. Together, these studies are intended to estimate the level of interest in the pay-as-you-drive approach, the nature of the market for the concept, price elasticity based on miles driven, and over effect of the program on vehicle miles traveled and traffic congestion.

Technology Enabling Near-Term Nationwide Implementation of Distance Based Road User Fees (2009) - Minnesota
This report describes a mileage-based user fee system meant for near-term deployment. Utilizing a vehicle's on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) port to access data, an in-vehicle device electronically calculates distance traveled and securely communicates relevant information via text message to a "back office" for processing and transferring accumulated fees from the user to the appropriate government jurisdiction. No new wireless infrastructure is needed. Also described are means for providing payment (and receiving credit for motor fuel use taxes paid at the pump) while also ensuring compliance, enforcement, transparency and privacy.

Nevada Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Fee Study - Phase 1 (2010) - Nevada
The Nevada Department of Transportation in collaboration with the University of Nevada Reno and University of Nevada Las Vegas initiated a VMT fee research study in 2009 to: a) assess and evaluate the feasibility of a VMT fee collection and payment mechanism specific to the State of Nevada; b) conduct proactive public outreach and education effort to educate the public, elected officials, various stakeholders, and decision makers about the critical future funding shortfalls and limitations of the current fuel tax system; c) identify and address the significant elements associated with the concept of a VMT fee and; d) design a VMT Fee Pilot Program for Nevada.

New York City DOT DriveSmart Program - New York, New York
The New York City Department of Transportation is proposing to develop and field test a "DriveSmart" program incorporating pay-as-you-drive insurance, feedback to motorists on fuel consumption and costs, parking incentives, dynamic ridesharing and virtual high-occupancy toll lanes. It focuses on an attractive "value proposition" to get public buy-in for VMT pricing, and also to includes other types of pricing and information services (fuel economy, eco driving, location services) as a means of accomplishing this buy-in.

Oregon's Mileage Fee Concept and Road User Fee Pilot Program (2007) - Oregon
In 2001, the Oregon Legislature established the Road User Fee Task Force which considered 28 different funding ideas that could replace the current system for revenue collection. This task force recommended that the Oregon Department of Transportation conduct a pilot program to study two strategies called the Oregon Mileage Fee Concept. This effort involved 1) studying the feasibility of replacing the gas tax with a mileage-based fee based on miles driven in Oregon and collected at fueling stations and 2) studying the feasibility of using this system to collect congestion charges. In November 2007, an evaluation of Oregon's mileage fee concept and road user fee pilot program was prepared for the Oregon Department of Transportation. This study evaluates technical and administrative feasibility aspects of this concept as demonstrated by the 12-month pilot program, launched in April 2006, and highlights key findings from the initiative.

The Intersection of Urban Form and Mileage Fees: Findings from the Oregon Road User Fee Pilot Program (2011) - Oregon
Supported by the Mineta Transportation Institute, this March 2011 report analyzes data from the 2006-2007 Oregon Road user Fee Pilot Program to assess if and how urban form variables correlate with travel behavior changes that participants made in response to the mileage-based fee program. The research reveals how program design could significantly affect a household's response to a mileage-based program in both traditional (mixed use, dense, transit-accessible) and suburban (single-use, low density) neighborhoods.

Report on Impacts of Road Usage Charge in Rural, Urban and Mixed Counties (2013) - Oregon
This research study focused on VMT fee policy issues specific to urban versus rural residents. It relied on demographics, travel patterns, vehicle ownership and usage, and transportation budgeting, as well as information collected through targeted surveys of residents of seven Oregon counties (two urban, three rural, and two "mixed"). Conclusions are drawn on technology, behavior, vehicles, and financial impacts.

Road Usage Charge Pilot Program Preliminary Findings (2013) - Oregon
This report evaluated the first six weeks of the two-month pilot program to demonstrate several options for paying a road usage charge while maintaining an efficient collection system administered by multiple interoperable providers, including ODOT and private sector entities. The program included 93 participants from Oregon, Washington, and Nevada.

Equity Evaluations of Sustainable Mileage-based User Fees Scenarios (2013) - Texas
This research used 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) Texas data along with detailed spending estimates from the Texas Department of Transportation to consider the equity impacts surrounding three VMT fee and spending scenarios. Each scenario was run both statically and dynamically under the assumption that VMT fee would replace the state gas tax. Results indicate that the impact of the VMT fee on geographic equity can be different depending on allocation of transportation funding. However, the VMT fee was essentially as equally vertically equitable as the current state gas tax.

Exploratory Study: Vehicle Mileage Fees in Texas (2010) - Texas
This study examined VMT fees as a possible funding mechanism in Texas, based on listening sessions conducted with the public and stakeholders. A decision matrix to aid policy makers in evaluating policy tradeoffs, identification of challenges with public acceptance and opportunities with addressing transportation financing issues, and a recommended demonstration project focused on electric vehicles are included.

Feasibility of Mileage-Based User Fees: Application in Rural/Small Urban Areas of Northeast Texas (2008) - Northeast Texas
This study explores the application of mileage-based user fees (VMT fees) as an alternative to the fuel tax in rural and small urban areas. The purpose of the study is to identify the issues associated with implementation of a potential new transportation funding system so that public and political concerns in rural communities can be addressed.

Mileage-Based User Fees - Defining a Path toward Implementation: Phase 2: An Assessment of Technology Issues (2009) - Texas
This report reviews technology options for a mileage-based user fee system in the state of Texas. The report assesses the range of possible mileage-based user fee system architectures. These architectures are considered at the logical level (i.e., the flow and transformation of information from raw data describing roadway use to an end bill) with the goal of demonstrating how the process flow of each architecture affects its ability to meet key policy objectives. The report also explores issues related to payment, enforcement, the deployment of on-board units in vehicles, and the potential for technology enabling a mileage-based user fee to be a platform for other value-added services. Finally, the report concludes by identifying key policy questions for Texas that must be addressed before pilot programs can be developed.

Puget Sound Regional Council's Traffic Choices Study Summary Report (2008) - Greater Seattle Area, Washington
The Puget Sound Regional Council conducted a study of distance-based network congestion tolls among 275 households, with 500 vehicles in total. Fees were levied on freeways and major arterials, with per-mile rates ranging from 0 to 40 cents depending on the link, subject to tolling and time of day. An on-board unit (OBU) managed the charge while displaying the current cost per mile as well as the cumulative cost for the trip. To gauge driver response, the study team monitored the travel patterns for each participant before the trials began and set up an individualized endowment account based on those patterns. Congestion charges were debited from the endowment account during the trials, but participants were allowed to keep any remaining balance. Results from the study demonstrated that drivers changed their travel behavior in response to the charges and that the equipment functioned as planned.

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