Road Usage Charging Pilot Programs In the United States: Customer Experience

Interchange , Loops , and Highways Interstate 35 and Toll Road 45 Austin Texas Transportation. Intersections at busy Round Rock - Austin Texas Interstate and Highways crossing and turning. Aerial Drone Bird`s eye view of Texas Hill Country highways

A-to-Be USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Portuguese A-to-Be, released the third in a series of educational reports addressing transportation funding in the United States. The report titled “RUC Pilot Programs in the United States: Customer Experience,” looks at pilot programs in Oregon, California and Washington and weighs the customer experience in the experience to establish core components for Road Usage Charge (RUC) systems in the United States.

Since 2006, economists in the United States have studied the concept of RUC, also referred to as vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fees or mileage-based user fees (MBUF), as an option for creating new infrastructure funding. Because RUC is a direct user fee that supports the “user pays” principle of transportation funding, it is important to understand the user experience in such models, beyond simply analyzing the revenue. After all, user experience will likely determine political commitment to such programs, particularly during election cycles.

According to A-to-Be USA CEO Jason Wall, “We are continuing to learn more and more as more pilot programs are completed. User choice is a very important factor for RUC. As more consumers participate in programs, industry leaders can adapt and offer better solutions”.

All three states were challenged as they tried to find diverse populations to participate in the tests. The lack of diversity amongst respondents throughout all three state trials created concern among states that the pilot groups did not accurately represent the user experience of all citizens. User choice is a very important factor for RUC because it ties into equitable practices. By allowing users to choose reasonably their means of participation in each program, citizens are not socially excluded and do not face economic hardships if they cannot meet the terms of the program requirements.

“Getting the public to understand and support RUC is important to its long term success all the while having less infrastructure on the roads” stated Wall. “Citizens want to see infrastructure improvements. As improvements are made based on the RUC fees, the public will feel more empowered and involved in the infrastructure debate at hand”

All three states did an excellent job focusing on ease of use, mainly by establishing multiple payment options and customer service centers manned by state employees. We would recommend that all RUC programs consider multiple means of payment and use, but not get too convoluted in terms of systems, which can be confusing and expensive to operate. One of the most valuable technology practices, implemented by the state of Oregon, was to maintain agnostic technology, which we recommend for all RUC programs. This allows for competition to create the best solutions.

To access the full report please click here

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About A-to-Be

 A-to-Be is a Portuguese-based company powered by Brisa (its major shareholder) responsible for developing and delivering solutions to mobility service operators internationally. For over 40 years, the company has provided leading tolling, traffic management, smart city, and revenue assurance solutions across Europe and the United States. A-to-Be processes over 1 billion tolling transactions and 25 million multi-service mobility transactions annually, managing more than 7 million customer accounts. A-to-Be provides a multitude of tolling solutions including self-service, electronic and satellite, as well as solutions connected directly to your smart device. Our solutions are vendor-independent, plug-and-pay and can be diversified to provide payment options for parking garages, public transport, fuel stations, and other MaaS value-added solutions.

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