Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems. Topic 46-01. Public Perception of Mileage Based User Fees

In recent years fuel tax revenues have declined significantly as a result of increasing fuel efficiency, decreasing purchasing power, and fewer miles driven. This has led to ongoing funding challenges for transportation infrastructure and increased uncertainty in future funding options. The long term sustainability of motor fuel taxes has come into question, in view of increasing fuel efficiency and possible shifts to alternative fuel vehicles. Interest has grown in the potential of replacing the current fuel tax -- assessed at the federal level and in many states as a flat fee per gallon -- with new road usage charge assessed on all miles traveled. This method is often referred to as a mileage-based user fee (MBUF), road usage charge (RUC) vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee, or per-mile tax. There have now been several pilot demonstrations at the state and local level of MBUF initiatives, many of which have included surveys or other assessments of public acceptability and concerns, including changing opinions by participants in the pilots. In addition, academic researchers and public interest groups have conducted public opinion research on the subject. A synthesis study is critically needed because the information on public opinion of MBUFs is scattered and time-consuming to find, and there is not yet any detailed and comprehensive assessment of the full body of research. In particular, understanding how opinions have varied or not according to demographic and other characteristics across multiple surveys will be valuable. An effective synthesis of these issues will be useful for transportation policymakers and planners who are seriously considering the implications of potential future major changes in transportation user fees, given the need to establish sustainable transportation funding programs. The synthesis will also be helpful in developing technological and institutional strategies to most appropriately deal with public concerns about a future transition from fuel taxes to mileage-based user fees.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Williams, Jon

  • Performing Organizations:

    San Jose State University

  • Start Date: 20141117
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37616

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543562
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 18 2014 1:03AM