If mileage-based user fees (MBUFs) become an accepted way to pay for transportation projects, technology will play a major role in implementing them. But, which technology will be used? Does current technology offer the best solution for collecting data and funds?
On April 24, the 2013 National Symposium on Mileage-Based User Fees: A Technology Workshop will be held in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s the fifth symposium co-hosted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) and organized by Senior Research Engineer Ginger Goodin, who leads TTI’s Austin Office. She is a national expert on MBUFs and has co-chaired the annual event since the first symposium in 2009.
“This year’s symposium coincides with the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s (ITS America’s) 23rd Annual Meeting and Exposition, which begins in Nashville on April 22,” Goodin explains. “We’ll examine and share the latest information about mileage-based user fees, but our main focus will be on the various enabling technologies and systems. This symposium is designed to open the conversation with the ITS community.”
Attendees will examine current technologies from the insurance, trucking, tolling and connected-vehicle industries that could support a MBUF system. Future technology applications will also be explored.
The symposium will also provide an update on the latest research and development activities, including work from Oregon, a leader in the study of MBUFs. Oregon’s legislature created the Road User Fee Task Force in 2001 to identify a new road-funding program. The task force has conducted several research projects on an alternative to the gasoline tax, including one just recently completed. Speakers from Oregon, Minnesota and Nevada will present their field-testing activities and findings.
“Each MBUF symposium takes a look at the current public and political barriers,” Goodin points out. “We will examine those issues from the perspective of enabling technologies. Conference speakers come from diverse sectors, and I think attendees will come away from the symposium with a broad sense of where we stand now and where we’re going.”
Among the questions to be addressed at the April 24 symposium:
- What is the future direction of MBUFs?
- What are the feasible ways to report mileage and pay a mileage fee?
- What role will ITS play in a MBUF system?
- What are the private-sector opportunities for assessing and collecting fees?
- What research still needs to be done?
The 2013 National Symposium on Mileage-Based User Fees is cohosted by the University of Minnesota and ITS America. For more information about the conference or to register, see the conference listing on TTI’s website.