Where are we now?
CURRENT RESEARCH: FORWARD DRIVE
The Washington State Transportation Commission applied for and received funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives program. This funded the Forward Drive research program beginning in October 2020, which was informed by the WA RUC Final Report.
During the first stage of Forward Drive, the Commission explored various policy and program options and their projected revenues while taking into consideration the adoption of more fuel-efficient vehicles over time, the potential permanent impacts on how and when people drive due to the COVID-19 pandemic and impacts that may arise as vehicle automation progresses. Learn more about past pilot research.
The second stage of Forward Drive began in November 2022 with the rollout of a series of mini-pilots to explore RUC implementation issues regarding user experience, cost effectiveness of the program, and program fairness for all drivers.
In its current phase, Forward Drive research is focused on specific RUC implementation issues and considerations, including:
Innovation – How can technology, market innovations, and design improve Washingtonians’ experience with RUC?
Cost-effectiveness – How can we make the cost to the state of collecting a RUC as low as possible?
Equity – How can we make sure that a RUC program is fair for all Washington drivers?
A publicly accessible simulation of a RUC system was launched in November 2022 as a pilot study. The simulation built on findings from the Forward Drive research done so far and extended into early 2023 with over 1,100 participants. A final report of findings is due later this year. Learn more about Forward Drive.
A publicly accessible simulation of a RUC system was launched in November 2022 as a pilot study. The simulation built on findings from the Forward Drive research done so far and extended into early 2023 with over 1,100 participants. A final report of findings is due later this year.
In the simulation, mini-pilot participants could participate in one of three follow-on experiences including WA RUC FlexPay, WA RUC AutoPilot, and WA RUC MilesExempt.
Pilot Study FAQs
The most recent WA RUC pilot was a simulation of what a real system might be like and gives drivers the chance to provide feedback and share their thoughts and experience with decision-makers. This pilot focused on various approaches to implementing a RUC system in Washington, including research around innovation, cost-effectiveness, and equity.
Washington’s 2018-19 road usage charge pilot project was a year-long test of a RUC system where 2,000 drivers from across Washington had the chance to experience different approaches to road usage charging and see first-hand how it would impact them financially. The results of this initial research is available in the January 2020 Road Usage Charge Final Report.
WA RUC FlexPay simulates installment payments for RUC as an alternative to annual lump sum transactions. Participants will be asked to pay the RUC they owed from the simulation in four monthly installments and answer questions about the ease of use of an installment plan, the effectiveness of reminders, and the value-add that an installment plan adds to their experience. The project will reimburse participants for the cost of the payments.
WA RUC AutoPilot allows motorists to report road usage directly from their vehicles using on-board telematics. Eligible participants will be asked to activate their in-vehicle telematics program, which will then allow the project team to access data describing the number of miles driven in Washington provided by project partner Via. Drivers will receive a mock monthly statement and be asked to answer questions about the attractiveness of this approach and the accuracy of their statements.
WA RUC MilesExempt offers participants an opportunity to self-declare exemptions for out-of-state and off-road miles and provide documentation to back up these claims. Participants will be asked to provide evidence of out-of-state travel such as receipts, trip records, and employment verification, to substantiate claims for out-of-state mileage deductions beyond the standard deduction offered in the RUC simulation.