Article InformationEdit

Title: Paying for the Future of Transportation: Technology Enabling a Market Based Approach

Author(s): Matthew Hardy

Affiliation: George Mason University

Presented At: STiS 2008

Primary Topic Area: Transportation Policy


The enabling technologies of 5.9 GHz Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) and Global Positioning System (GPS) will make possible a transformational future of transportation funding using a variety of market-based approaches. In the near future, it will be possible for every vehicle, both new and existing, to be equipped with the technology for less than $100. This makes possible both new services and new business models for delivering those services. Most importantly, it makes possible new market-based mechanisms for funding the transportation infrastructure including:

  1.  Public and private entities to charge customers for services using mileage based pricing.
  2.  Traffic managers and private sector providers to collect highly accurate vehicle probe data.
  3.  The private sector to identify potential customers for new services based on actual driving patterns, and to tailor those services to exact customer need.

This is becoming a critical issue since the current mechanism for funding transportation infrastructure, the gas tax, is failing. DSRC and GPS technologies will enable a sustainable funding mechanism for transportation infrastructure that provides a fair and equitable economic solution to roadway users. As the limitations of the gas tax are realized, the political acceptability of technology-based pricing will grow. These new technologies will make it possible to charge fair user fees to maintain and improve the existing transportation network. They will enable new value-added services that will improve the mobility choices, reduce congestion and pollution, and generally improve quality of life for the teaming masses.

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