Policy Brief: Road Usage Charging (RUC)


Pricing transportation infrastructure, either to achieve a desired outcome or to raise revenue, is a concept that has been present in economics and transportation since the early to mid-20th century. Different approaches to pricing (e.g., area-wide pricing, vehicle miles traveled, express lanes, etc.) have been adopted in parts of Europe and Asia; some strategies cover all road users, some only passenger vehicles, and others only commercial and goods movement vehicles. Pricing, as a revenue source, has recently gained momentum in the U.S., driven by federal legislation (MAP-21; FAST Act) and state-run pilot programs (CADOT, ODOT, MNDOT, CODOT, WADOT). The time is ripe to scale pricing strategies, not only to create a sustainable source of funding for infrastructure and public transit, but also to ensure that all road users contribute direct user fees.

Teddy Forscher, Alexandre Bayen, PhD and Susan Shaheen, PhD
Publication date: 
January 9, 2018
Publication type: 
Policy Brief