Review and Synthesis of Road-Use Metering and Charging Systems

Since the 1920s the motor fuels tax has been the principal user fee through which revenues have been raised for the construction and maintenance of U.S. highways (and later public transit systems). The motor fuels tax has numerous merits, and many observers believe that it will remain the mainstay of the transportation finance for years to come. Others, however, pointing to the growing political resistance to fuels tax increases, the rise of alternative propulsion vehicles, and the need for better pricing to manage road use, argue that the days of the motor fuels tax are numbered--and that new technologies now allow new and better ways to price the use of highways. This resource paper informs this debate over the future of the motor fuels tax by examining in considerable detail many of the latest efforts worldwide to develop new ways to fairly and efficiently charge for highway system use. An extensive review of innovative electronic tolling applications around the world was performed. The review included projects already in operation as well as those that have been proposed or are in the advanced stages of planning; each was evaluated in terms of policy, technology, and political acceptance issues. Case studies were selected that focus on applications involving networkwide road-use metering and tolling, as these were judged to be the most relevant to the concept of distance-based user fees. A secondary focus was given to facility congestion toll projects and cordon toll projects that might be relevant from a political or technical perspective.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This report was commissioned by the TRB Committee for the Study of the Long-Term Viability of Fuel Taxes for Transportation Finance. Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Sorensen, Paul A
    • Taylor, Brian D
  • Publication Date: 2005


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 153p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01019598
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 2 2006 3:40PM