ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Global infrastructure developer and operator Transurban has launched DriveTU, a mileage-based user fee study in the Greater Washington Area that explores how drivers can pay-as-they-go to fund transportation infrastructure instead of paying a gas tax at the pump. Conducted in partnership with The Eastern Transportation Coalition with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), the study is part of the largest multi-state mileage-based user fee exploration in the Eastern U.S. The DriveTU study will examine how mileage-based user fee systems can work with toll roads, and how such systems can incorporate congestion and cordon pricing.
As the prevalence of electric vehicles increases and fuel tax revenues decline, policymakers are looking to identify more sustainable, transparent, and equitable means of addressing infrastructure funding shortfalls to ensure long-term maintenance and operation of road and transit systems. Mileage-based user fees are based on the "user pays" principle and are seen as a possible solution.
"We are seeing both state and federal policymakers, Democrats and Republicans, start to think beyond the current funding paradigms to achieve meaningful investment in our transportation systems," said Pierce Coffee, President, Transurban North America. "Transurban is excited to put our roads and technology to work to better link personal transportation costs with the services we use. This is one important step that can help ensure that a modern network of roads and transit is available for future generations."
Transurban, which pioneered the first dynamically tolled express lanes in the U.S., will leverage its advanced roads, back office systems and knowledge of consumer behavior, to test in-vehicle technology in the DriveTU study. Transurban is recruiting 400 eligible participants for the three-month pilot, including current drivers of the Virginia Express Lanes and others in the region. While no money will be exchanged, participants will receive a sample invoice that includes simulated fees for distance driven, as well as for travel in peak times or high-congestion locations.
"Our research has shown that a mileage-based user fee approach is viable, and that drivers are open to a 'user pays' approach to transportation funding," said Dr. Patricia Hendren, Executive Director at The Eastern Transportation Coalition. "As we look at the complexities of user-fee systems, we are fortunate to have private sector partners like Transurban bringing forward unique expertise that will provide policymakers with key insights and data – from customer experience considerations to lowering implementation costs."
In addition to the DriveTU study, Transurban is leading a number of forward-looking projects focused on improving mobility. Leveraging a separate grant from the U.S. DOT, Transurban is developing technology to better enable roads to "speak" to connected and automated vehicles, and in 2022 will pilot a system that transfers intelligence between infrastructure and connected vehicles to maximize safety and enhance driving automation. The company has also launched the GoToll app to enable modern and convenient toll payments, empowering drivers with a flexible payment solution from their smartphones. Furthering its commitment to roadworker safety, Transurban is also advancing automated technology to protect road crews.
Learn more about Transurban's DriveTU mileage-based user fee study and how to get involved.
About Transurban North America
Transurban is one of the world's largest toll-road operators and developers, working to get people where they want to go, as quickly and safely as possible. By embracing collaboration with government, our public-private partnerships are delivering transformative infrastructure solutions across five markets. In fiscal year 2020, our customers saved 339,000 hours on average each workday across 2 million trips on our roads with faster, more predictable travel options. With a leading market share of transportation P3 investment in North America, we are pioneering travel solutions like dynamically tolled Express Lanes and are partnering with government to think about the policies, technology, and infrastructure that will get you home today and ten years from now. Learn more about Transurban in North America at: Transurban.com | Expresslanes.com | A25.com.
About The Eastern Transportation Coalition
The Eastern Transportation Coalition is a partnership of 17 states and Washington, D.C. focused on bringing public and private stakeholders together to solve transportation problems. As a nonpartisan independent partnership, the Coalition is dedicated to advancing the national conversation around mileage-based user fees (MBUF) through real-world pilots, education, and outreach. The Coalition is neutral regarding MBUF as the ultimate solution for transportation funding but wants to ensure the Eastern Seaboard is part of the national discussion. Learn more at tetcoalition.org.
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