Beginning early next year, drivers in six states will begin testing a new way to pay for roads and transit. Commuters will be charged for the miles they drive rather than paying taxes on gasoline purchased.
Researchers from the University of Iowa Public Policy Center will install computers and satellite equipment in the vehicles of 2,700 volunteers - 450 each from Austin, Texas, Baltimore, Boise, Idaho, San Diego, eastern Iowa and the Research Triangle region of North Carolina.
Over the next two years, drivers will get sample monthly bills for the number of miles they've driven. They can compare what they now pay in gasoline taxes with what they would have paid in per-mile fees.
"We want to assess the public's attitudes and acceptance toward a system like this," says Jon Kuhl, principal investigator on the $16.5 million Road User Charge Study and chairman of the University of Iowa Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.