French mobility services and technology provider Emovis has been awarded the contract to implement the State of Utah’s road usage charge for an alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) project that aims to plug the state’s fuel tax funding gap.
While beneficial for the environment, the rapid spread of hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) is posing financial issues to departments of transportation (DOTs) and state authorities that heavily rely on fuel tax revenues to maintain their road networks. In order to tackle this issue, the State of Utah has decided to implement an innovative road usage charge (RUC) program for eligible AFVs, which includes gas hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and EVs. Under the RUC program, eligible vehicle owners will be given the choice during the annual vehicle registration process to pay a flat fee in lieu of fuel tax or opt for a pay-per-mile charge. The per-mile charges accumulated will be capped at the equivalent of the annual flat fee. The project is expected to go live on January 1, 2020.
Emovis has now been selected to serve as the commercial account manager for the Utah AFV RUC program. The company is the smart mobility services and technology arm of the Spanish toll road operator Abertis, which manages over 5,300 miles (8,600km) of high-capacity highways across 15 countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Drawing from its long-standing RUC expertise, Emovis’ solution encompasses a wide range of mileage reporting options to best fit with different vehicles, including:
- In-vehicle telematics;
- Bluetooth low-energy on-board diagnostic II devices (OBUs);
- Smartphone apps;
- Odometer capture technology.
The company will record mileage data and manage accounts for billing as a third-party vendor using state-of-the-art privacy protections.
Currently engaged in supplying RUC services for two pilot projects in Oregon and Washington, the new contract in Utah makes Emovis the leading provider of pay-per-mile mobility systems in the USA. Industry experts predict that these emerging RUC programs may soon pave the way for a fundamental change in the USA’s approach to tackling urban congestion and road funding. It is widely-felt that charging vehicles according to their actual mileage driven provides the basis for a fairer way of generating sustainable revenue streams, while encouraging road users to opt for alternative modes of transportation.
The trend is not confined to the USA. Earlier this month, Emovis sponsored a report, ‘Green Light: Next generation road user charging for a healthier, more liveable London’, that was authored by the Center for London. The study advocated the replacement of London’s Congestion Charge and other charging programs in the UK capital with a single distance-based RUC system in order to curb growing traffic in the center of London and improve the city’s air quality.
“Although modest in size, this project constitutes a major milestone in the transformation of the road mobility landscape,” commented Anthony Alicastro, Emovis CEO, on the new contract award. “I am pleased that our company plays a leading role in this new market which is important to the Abertis group.”