The first road usage charging program in North America was launched by the state of Oregon with a program called OReGo. Less than a year later, California is piloting a similar program beginning in the summer of 2016. The programs are voluntary and participants typically place a device into their car’s diagnostic system which monitors the mileage they use. With these specific programs, drivers are billed for miles driven, but also credited back any fuel tax that they paid at the pump.
Building on IMS’ successes generating usage-based revenue for the Oregon Department of Transportation with the OReGO Road Usage Charging program, the first of its kind in North America, IMS is now selected to provide end-to-end technology and account management services for the California Road Charge Pilot Project.
For nearly as long as there have been motor vehicles fuel tax has been a constant and stable source of funding road repair and maintenance, but is no longer sustainable for the future. Today, vehicles are more fuel efficient, and burn less gas than those of years past. With new technology for even greater fuel efficiency, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles, governments are looking for ways to make up the lost revenues. Governments need to implement sustainable and uninterrupted funding to keep the roads open, safe and expanding. A road usage charging system would allow for a government to charge for roads, much like other public utilities – based on how much they are used.
For California, a notoriously technologically advanced and environmentally conscious state, the decision to pilot a road usage program is a logical one. The road usage charging program using IMS’ Drivesync® platform’s modularity and “design-for-partnerships” approach provides the flexibility to also easily enable continuous smog-check services, remote diagnostics and transportation network assessment from the same system. Full services from the DriveSync platform include Usage-based Insurance, young driver program and Road Usage Charging, coupled with other connected car services such as emissions monitoring, driver safety coaching, vehicle diagnostics and road-side assistance to name a few.
Early surveys show that drivers are satisfied with the cost and payment system of a system like OreGo. Drivers believe that a road usage charging system is of benefit to them as it is a fairer tax model, as well as of benefit to the environment. For governments, road usage charging is a sustainable but fair system for collecting tax revenue, while still being cost effective.
IMS continues to expand into new territories with Road Usage Charging. Road Usage Charging is being explored by more states, including Nevada, Washington and Colorado to name a few.