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Tolling Points

The Potential for Road Usage Charging 

Thomas Krueger, Vice President of Operations, North America for Emovis

Opportunities to Collaborate Underscore Importance of Events like the IBTTA RUC Conference 

What should Road Usage Charging (RUC) entail today? Where do you see it going in the future? 

This is a question we spend considerable time thinking through at Emovis. With the increase of electric and hybrid vehicles on the road, RUC enables US states to address declining fuel tax revenues. This is an important benefit today. However, it only scratches the surface of the possibilities for RUC in the future. We are at a RUC 1.0 level. Awaiting is a RUC 5.0 world with a number of other potential applications. 

RUC Today 

Virginia is the latest state to initiate a RUC program with Emovis. We are already running revenue-generating programs in Utah and Oregon, as well as a completed pilot in Washington State.  

To capture fuel tax loss from electric and hybrid vehicles, agencies typically implement one-time registration fees. States are using small-scale RUC programs as an alternative to these registrations.   

Some systems are difficult and expensive to change, customize, maintain and modernize. RUC solutions need to use open standards, cloud analytics and mobile technology. Customer needs are going to continuously change over the next 20 years, so it is important to have a system designed to grow as the industry does.  

RUC programs are primarily built leveraging two different technologies. One technology is a “dongle” or device that is installed into a vehicle’s OBD-II port. Many insurance companies leverage this technology to monitor the behaviors and habits of drivers. The other is in-vehicle telematics, a technology typically integrated during a vehicle’s construction and enables information to be captured and communicated to external sources. In-vehicle telematics is less expensive for RUC data collection and neither technology compromises the confidentially and security of the driver’s information. The information captured by the RUC system is only the mileage driven, not the specifics of where and when someone travelled.  

RUC in the Future
Emovis RUC programs have consistently shown the ability to capture mileage-based user fees with a high degree of accuracy. This, and other factors, have demonstrated to us that there is a tremendous opportunity to use RUC across a wide spectrum of vehicles – not just electric and hybrid – to replace the fuel taxes  that are being collected today. 

This world of RUC being part of a fuel tax model and not solely a registration fee replacement won’t happen overnight. There are several challenges to cross. But as this begins to happen, states will open up more consistent revenue streams, allowing the DOTs to maintain roadways that ensure the safety of the traveling public.  

There is also great potential for RUC to enhance other important divergent areas of our transportation system. Tolling is currently based on the “tolling points” – someone crosses a bridge, enters a tunnel or arrives or departs a tollway and is then charged accordingly. Such transactions are facilitated now through hardware. Mature RUC enables geofencing to simply analyze whether a vehicle crossed a bridge or entered a tunnel and then layer in the necessary charges. 

Mature RUC will also allow for congestion charging. RUC and geofencing can establish boundaries within the city and determine time of day pricing accordingly to better manage traffic flow. There are other potential RUC roadway revenue streams.  

Many different factors will contribute to these and other new opportunities. One of the most important will be the evolution of in-vehicle telematics technology. Over the next cycles of car fleet manufacturing, in-vehicle telematics will grow in different ways and become more available. The technology truly has the opportunity to change the industry and will require the entire transportation ecosystem to collaborate together in new and different ways. 

Hence the importance of industry wide events like the IBTTA Road Usage Charging (RUC) and Finance Conference beginning on May 15th in Denver. Emovis is looking forward to joining the global tolling community to explore the possibilities of RUC. We think it is increasingly important for the industry to consider the opportunities and find ways to collaborate to make such future possibilities a reality.  

Events like the IBTTA RUC conference are unique opportunities to consider all the various factors involved, such as policies, technology, communications and implementation to name a few. Road mobility is the glue that holds a modern society together. RUC will be an important part of this future. Together, we need to explore the case studies, best practices and lessons learned of RUC around the world to benefit all the different stakeholders involved.   

Thomas Krueger is Vice President of Operations, North America for Emovis. Part of Abertis Mobility Services, Emovis is a world leader in toll-based mobility solutions. Learn more at  

Newsletter publish date: 
Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 09:45


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