Battelle employs smartphone technology to show mileage-based user fee feasibility

Nov. 2, 2011
For nearly a century, America’s roads and infrastructure have been funded by a gasoline tax. Battelle scientists are conducting research to see if there’s a more innovative way to amass the needed money by demonstrating the feasibility of a mileage-based user fee based on smartphone technology

For nearly a century, America’s roads and infrastructure have been funded by a gasoline tax. Battelle scientists are conducting research to see if there’s a more innovative way to amass the needed money by demonstrating the feasibility of a mileage-based user fee based on smartphone technology.

At the 18th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems in Orlando FL recently, Battelle staff demonstrated their system to interested public officials and representatives of private industry. The Minnesota Road Fee Test (MRFT) is the most extensive road user fee demonstration underway in the United States. Not only did staff show how the Battelle system works, several presentations described the system design and provided early findings from the ongoing demonstration project.

The MRFT is a demonstration project undertaken in parallel with other Connected Vehicle Programs. Battelle’s efforts include designing, building, and testing three new proprietary software applications that combine safety and mobility applications from the Connected Vehicle world with a mileage-based user fee application from the road user pricing world.

The demonstration test consists of 500 volunteers primarily within Wright County MN. Each volunteer will self-install a Samsung Galaxy S smart phone into their vehicle and operate the system for six months. As part of the test, each participant will be required to pay the miles-based fee accumulated during their testing period. Each volunteer also will be required to participate in an evaluation designed to capture their experiences with the system, the system performance, and their concerns about any future system expansion.

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