Caltrans seeks volunteers for road charge research

The California Department of Transportation is looking for 150 volunteers for continued research on a road user charge as an alternative to the state gas tax.

The California Road Charge Phased Demonstration will first explore how drivers could be charged for the miles they travel rather than the gasoline they use by testing a user-friendly pay-at-the-pump and electric vehicle charging station system, or through a usage-based insurance approach.

Participants will be eligible to receive up to $100 in incentives each for their time and feedback. Future phases of the Caltrans demonstration will include testing of app-based payment of rideshare miles and capturing data from autonomous vehicles.

Taxes on fuel are the primary source of state funding for road and highway repairs and upgrades. With vehicles growing more fuel efficient and more zero-emission options becoming available, Caltrans is testing various methods to collect per-mileage fees in a system where drivers contribute based on how much they use the road.

“Caltrans is continuing its research to explore how a future road user charge can fund transportation projects throughout the state,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “We want Californians to join us in testing payment options that will inform our research in designing an equitable and sustainable road charge program.”

The six-month demonstration will start in January 2021 and builds on California’s 2017 Road Charge Pilot, that tested the feasibility of funding road and highway repairs based on how many miles a driver travels instead of how much gas they purchase.

Volunteer for the demonstration by completing the participant recruitment survey. Participants must be California residents over the age of 18, and do not need to own or lease a vehicle in order to participate.

About the Road Charge Program

                  The Road Charge Program is working to develop a fairer, more transparent, and more sustainable way to fund road and highway repairs based on how many miles Californians drive, instead of how many gallons of gas they buy. Please visit to learn more about the California Road Charge Pilot and the Road Charge Program.