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BREAKOUT SESSION 5 Vehicle Miles Traveled The Next Funding Frontier? Adrian Moore, Reason Foundation (Moderator) Paul Hanley, University of Iowa Jack Wells, U.S. Department of Transportation Richard Baker, Texas Transportation Institute Dick Mudge, Delcan A drian Moore of the Reason Foundation moder- Between January 2009 and April 2010, the participants ated Breakout Session 5 and observed that the collectively drove a total of 20.5 million miles, or an National Surface Transportation Infrastructure average distance of 1,033 miles per month per driver. Financing Commission concluded that the status quo The revenue generated by the test conducted from Janu- for transportation funding in the United States is not ary to July 2009 at 2.3 cents per mile totaled $229,691, sustainable. The most likely solution would be a shift which was approximately 12.2 percent less than the cur- away from the motor fuel tax to a vehicle miles traveled rent motor fuel tax would have generated from federal (VMT) fee as the primary source of surface transporta- and state taxes collected at the pump. The technology tion funding. The design and implementation of a VMT performed properly for 92.9 percent of the miles traveled. system will be driven by public perception and whether it The system missed recording 1.4 million vehicle miles, is able to raise more money than the motor fuel tax. The which equated to 7.1 percent of all miles traveled. Out- following presentations address aspects of this change. ages often occurred with short trips, but the study was able to interpolate 6.6 percent of the miles traveled; 0.6 percent remained uninterpolated. The demonstration proved that Lessons Learned from the National VMT the current technology is robust, and it is improving. With Demonstration Project regard to ease of use of the system, 74 percent of users did not need technical support. Of the remaining 26 percent, Paul Hanley provided background information on the 9 percent required extensive assistance, and 0.3 percent VMT pilot conducted by the University of Iowa. The had to return multiple times to have equipment retrofitted. program uses an onboard odometer unit that provides Opinions of VMT trial participants shifted over time, information on the vehicle's location as it moves between with participants either liking the program more or less. jurisdictions. Data are stored on the unit and transmit- Attitudinal surveys revealed that older, more educated, ted over a cell phone connection once per month. The and higher-income participants were more likely to have system was tested in two rural locations, two urban areas a positive opinion of the trial. The trial used two types of moderate size, and two large urban areas. The first of invoices: one provided only the monthly total of miles tests concluded in August 2009 are now being replicated. traveled, and the other showed all vehicle movements. The study involved an aggressive recruiting campaign. While participants got used to either system and began to More than 81,000 motorists volunteered to participate trust it over time, there were trade-offs between preser- in the study. Of those volunteers, 1,207 were enrolled vation of privacy and the ability to audit, with opinions in the first year, with 1,152 ultimately completing the on both sides. program. The second year of the study had 1,446 origi- As part of the research, a national random digit tele- nal participants, with 1,370 completing the program. phone survey of 1,700 people was conducted concern- 41