Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Mileage-Based User Fee

Minnesota Guidestar


Current research

Minnesota Road Use Test

image of mbuf device
Minnesota Road Fee Test GPS application

In May 2011, MnDOT began conducting technical research of the mileage-based user fee in a Minnesota Road Use Test. Five hundred people from Hennepin and Wright Counties are currently testing technology that could someday be used to collect a mileage based user fee. The research will provide important feedback from motorists about the effectiveness of using technology in a car or truck to gather mileage information, and results will help public policy leaders understand the challenges and opportunities in such a system.

Volunteers in the study use a Smart Phone with a GPS application in their car or truck. The phone is programmed for motorists to submit information that MnDOT will use to evaluate whether the device provides timely, reliable travel data from that specific trip. In addition, the test examines whether other applications, such as real-time traffic alerts providing information on construction zones, crashes, congestion and road hazards, are effective in communicating safety messages to motorists. Three different groups of volunteers will test the devices for six months each. The volunteers will be paid a nominal stipend and a fee to cover the expenses of this test.

The technical research is designed to record miles and road use while strictly protecting the privacy of participants. The participant’s names, the data that identifies their vehicle, financial account information, travel routes, days and times of trips is classified not public by the Minnesota Department of Administration to ensure that the research and results are valid. The research is scheduled to end by December 2012 and results of the research will be made available to the public.

Previous research

June and July 2009

MnDOT conducted 821 phone-mail-phone interviews with Minnesota drivers selected by random sample augmented by drivers of hybrid vehicles to better understand their understanding of funding of transportation issues. Read the Summary Report (PDF)

In August 2008

MnDOT conducted nine mini-focus groups (five in the Twin Cities Metro area and two each in Duluth and Mankato) with Minnesota drivers to understand the perceptions and level of acceptance among the Minnesota public about implementation of a mileage-based user fee. Read the Summary Report (PDF)

In May and June 2007

MnDOT conducted qualitative research to understand public opinion about a mileage-based user fee alternative to the current motor fuel tax. People interviewed included knowledgeable transportation experts as well as the general public. Eight transportation experts participated in an online bulletin board discussion about the issue and 10 focus groups (six in the Twin Cities Metro area and two each in Duluth and Mankato) totaling 89 people provided feedback. Read the Summary Report (PDF)