Hawaii’s RUC demo decides telematics option


One of the leading global providers of connected vehicle and fleet telematics technologies Azuga has been selected by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) as the exclusive technology provider for the second phase of the Hawaii Road Usage Charge (HiRUC) Demonstration Project.

The HDOT project is designed to study the viability of road usage charging (RUC) as an alternative road and infrastructure funding mechanism for the state. For part two of the HiRUC demonstration, up to 2,000 participants are expected to sign up for the second 9-month portion of the 18-month study program. Expected to launch in spring 2020, the second phase of the HiRUC demonstration project will include research from participants using Azuga’s in-vehicle plug-and-play technology when driving on public roads throughout the counties of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, which each has its own gas tax in addition to the state gas tax.

The need for alternative financing mechanisms arises from decreasing transportation funds, which have been predominantly provided by revenue from a per-gallon gas tax. As more and more vehicles on the road become more fuel-efficient and fuel-independent, the state funds used to build, maintain, and improve public roads have flattened and will decline. Many state governments are seeking revenue alternatives as a means to protect their infrastructure investment, and some are investigating mileage-based RUC as a promising solution. Several RUC pilots have been completed across the USA and others are currently active on the East Coast and in Oregon. Recently, the legislators of the State of Utah signed RUC into mandate as a long-term funding system solution.

Part two of the HiRUC demonstration will evaluate methods of mileage collection and, unique to other RUC programs, it will use Azuga’s advanced public versus private road differentiation for accurate assessment of only public road use. Charges will be simulated for the project, and no real money will be collected. Azuga will provide three mileage reporting methods (MRMs) including location-enabled and non-location enabled OBDII devices, which can be plugged into most vehicles’ diagnostics port under the dashboard. Participants using these on-board units (OBUs) may also opt in to Azuga’s convenient, premium services such as diagnostic trouble code alerts, battery voltage alerts, and driver scores. The third MRM is Vehcon’s OdoPhoto, a non-location image capture solution embedded within Azuga’s smartphone app that allows participants to periodically snap a photo of their odometer and remotely submit it for mileage processing.

HiRUC Part 2 follows the launch of the first phase, which is a manual demonstration using the odometer readings taken during Hawaii drivers’ regular, mandated safety inspections. Owners of vehicles will begin receiving driving reports in late 2019 with annual, simulated road usage charges. The second half of the demonstration will analyze the mileage collection process via other technologies.

“We have been specializing in and innovating road usage charging technology since its inception in the USA, and both our clients and users continually praise Azuga Insight’s ease of use, accuracy, and convenient services,” said Nate Bryer, vice president of innovation at Azuga. “We look forward to bringing our secure, driver-centric approach to the residents of Hawaii and to assisting HDOT in assessing possible future funding systems for the unique needs of the state.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.