Transportation Surveillance; Getting the “Bad Guys” and you too

12/11/09

Oklahoma DPS Desperately Seeking Automated Enforcement

The privacy concerns of increasing surveillance doesn’t bother everyone, although I would argue that it should.  Here is just one more consideration of import before you throw yourself on the “get the bad guys” bandwagon.

AxXiom

Here is the entire PDF entitled;

Implementable Strategies for Shifting to Direct Usage-Based Charges for Transportation Funding

Selected portions of the publication;

Motor fuel taxes have been the principal source of highway funding at the state and federal level for close to a century, accounting for about $68 billion—about 64 percent of all highway user fees and about 50 percent of all highway expenditures—

BUT

The Decline of Motor Fuel Taxes. Despite such advantages, the efficacy of fuel taxes as a source of highway revenue has been increasingly undermined in recent decades by a confluence of structural and political factors.

Relying heavily on fuel tax revenues while simultaneously striving to reduce fuel consumption would spell certain trouble for the future health of transportation finance in this country. Such considerations, in concert with the development of sophisticated electronic tolling technologies, have fostered a growing interest in transitioning to a system of road finance centered on VMT fees rather than fuel tax revenues.

SO

While a compelling case can be made for planning to phase in a sophisticated system of VMT fees over a longer period of time, the challenges that motivate this shift – notably the large and growing shortfall in transportation revenue at all levels of government – are urgent.

With the HTF facing insolvency (NSTIFC 2009), there is growing interest among transportation decision makers in determining whether it would be possible to configure a simpler system for metering and assessing VMT fees that could be implemented on a national scale much more quickly –within approximately five years – and serve as an intermediate transition to a more sophisticated VMT-based system over the longer term.

The confluence of enabling technology and growing transportation revenue shortfalls have stimulated significant interest in mileage-based pricing options in recent years.

Chapter 3 examines programs and proposals that may provide relevant technical, political, or institutional guidance relevant to the development of a VMT-fee system.

Depending on a range of system design choices, levying VMT fees at the national scale could require significant involvement and assistance by states.

For this reason, the research team interviewed DOT and DMV/MVA representatives in several states to gain insight into their hopes, concerns, and perspectives regarding VMT fees. The results of these interviews are summarized in Chapter 4.

2.5. A Simple Illustration of VMT Revenue Forecasting
To illustrate the potential effects of replacing fuel taxes with VMT fees, the research team developed several forecasts of federal VMT-fee revenue and compared them to forecasted motor fuel tax revenue. The work began with setting the VMT fee for the first year, 2015 (the near-term transition year envisioned in this research) to a level that would generate revenues for that year equal to those forecast for motor-fuel tax revenues. Based on EIA fuel-consumption forecasts for 2015, federal revenue from motor fuel taxes of 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents
per gallon for diesel would total about $35.7 billion in 2015. (All dollar values in this section are in unadjusted 2009 dollars.) Assuming that all vehicles would pay the same per-mile rate under a system of VMT fees, the fee would need to be set at 1.1 cents per mile ($35.7 billion divided by
3.23 trillion VMT in 2015) to be initially revenue neutral. Forecasts of future VMT revenues were then made under four scenarios:
• VMT fees remain at 1.1 cents per mile.
• VMT fees remain at 1.1 cents per mile, but VMT grows at a rate 10 percent lower than projected by EIA.
• VMT fees remain at 1.1 cents per mile, but VMT grows at a rate 10 percent higher than projected by EIA.
• VMT fees are set at 0.8 cents for cars and 3.4 cents for trucks, reflecting the differences incurrent contributions to fuel tax revenues.
Obviously, many more scenarios would be possible. For example, the base per-mile rate might be increased in future years, or additional forms of pricing – varying the per mile rate by time and location, or varying the rate for trucks based on vehicle weight – might be introduced.

3.1. General-Purpose Distance-Based Road Use Charges
Distance-based systems for levying road use charges that would apply to all vehicles on the road have yet to be implemented, but more limited systems do exist.

3.3. Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) Insurance / Leasing
The PAYD insurance concept appears to be gaining significant traction, with many companies in the United States and abroad either offering or experimenting with this concept

3.4 Metering capabilities vary considerably across the options. Simpler metering mechanisms are only capable of metering total miles, while more sophisticated options can determine the time of travel, the jurisdiction in which travel occurs, and even the specific route of travel.

There are no “low cost” options that can be easily verified and enforced.

The only low cost option observed in this study involves self-reported odometer readings, and this mechanism is difficult to verify or enforce.

6.2. Enabling Technologies
There are, not surprisingly, many technologies that could support different functions in a VMT fee system.

The following list defines those that appear to offer the greatest promise over the next several years.
ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition). Combining digital cameras with optical character recognition software, this technology makes it possible to identify vehicles that pass a particular location based on their license plate numbers.


AVI (Automated Vehicle Identification)
. This term describes technology that supports wireless identification of a particular vehicle (e.g., a vehicle passing by a particular checkpoint). Radiofrequency identification (RFID) tags are the most common example of this technology, but there are other methods as well.

Cellular communications. Cellular is often considered as an option to support necessary communications. It can also be used, however, to provide location information (by triangulating between nearby cell phone towers or simply identifying the closest cell phone tower).

GPS (Global Positioning System) receivers. GPS receivers triangulate between dedicated satellites to determine current latitude and longitude coordinates.

RFID (radio-frequency identification). RFID technology is a common option for implementing AVI, as described above, and is often used to support DSRC applications. Costing just a few cents per unit, RFID tags could be embedded in license plates or even registration stickers.

Though RFID tags do not require power, it is possible to integrate RFID tags with a small battery to increase their communication range; this leads to a modest increase in cost, however.

“Smart cards” (small data storage chips):

Smart cards allow for the transfer of electronic data between one computational device and another. One potential option for transmitting billing data (suggested in the initial University of Iowa study – see Forkenbrock and Kuhl 2002) would be to store road use data on a smart card inserted into an OBU; periodically, users would remove the smart card from the OBU and insert it in a home computer or other reader station (e.g., located at gas stations or convenience stores) connected to the internet to transfer payment information to a central billing agency.

One response to “Transportation Surveillance; Getting the “Bad Guys” and you too

  1. Pingback: Transportation Surveillance; Getting the “Bad Guys” and you too … Tiddlywiki

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