Road Usage Charging

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Introduction

Interest in road usage charging programs has increased over the past decade. States are facing declining fuel tax revenues and are looking for new ways to fund the maintenance and operation of transport infrastructure. 

Road usage charging programs tax vehicles regardless of their fuel source or fuel consumption. Widespread adoption of road usage charging could generate more revenue for states than fuel-tax based systems do now.      

What is Road Usage Charging?

Road usage charging (RUC) is also referred to as distance-based user fees (DBUF), vehicle miles traveled tax (VMTT), and mileage-based user fees (MBUF). No matter what you choose to call it, RUC is defined as a government policy that charges drivers for their use of a road system based on how many miles they travel.

This type of policy is similar to tolling in that motorists pay for their use of a road network to support transportation funding. 

However, toll systems are usually only set up to charge users for the utilization of certain road features such as expressways, tunnels, or bridges. Road usage charges apply to all roadways in a set area (such as a county or state), 24/7. 

Road usage charging has not yet been widely adopted in the United States but interest is growing and a few states are already running pilot projects. 

States with Road Usage Charge Programs 

Under ten states have launched road usage charge pilot programs so far including Washington, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. Most of these states took advantage of federal funding to partially pay for these programs. 

These projects are going well and more states are considering enacting RUC pilot programs.   

Currently, Oregon is the only state to create and run a fully functioning road usage charge program—called OReGO

OReGO started in 2015. The program has enrolled over 1,600 vehicles so far. Participation is voluntary. In 2019 legislation was passed to expand OReGO.  

Why Use Road Usage Charging? 

Roads in the United States are currently paid for in a number of ways including fuel and tire taxes, tolls, vehicle registration fees, and more general revenue sources such as sales taxes. 

The two main sources of funding for highways in America are state and federal fuel taxes. However, these taxes have not kept up with inflation and are worth 40% less than they were a quarter-century ago—despite the overall rise in fuel prices over the past decade.  

Due to the gradual decline of fuel tax revenue, there is great interest in using road usage charges to fund America’s highways, as it charges based on distance traveled—not fuel use. 

Another factor making RUC systems more attractive to policymakers is the public’s increasing interest in fuel-efficient vehicles, including electric vehicles. These vehicles pay much less in fuel tax per mile than conventional vehicles do. Some pay nothing at all in fuel taxes. 

There is concern that governments in the near future are going to be unable to collect sufficient fuel-tax revenues to maintain transportation infrastructure due to the widespread adoption of fuel-efficient vehicles. 

Again, RUC seems like a potential solution to policymakers as it taxes all vehicles based on the number of miles they drive—regardless of their fuel use. 

Road Usage Charging is Easy with Azuga’s OBDII Device

It is technically permitted to comply with RUC regulations using paper licenses and hand-recorded odometer readings. 

However, automated technologies with GPS-enabled devices can not only help your drivers remain RUC compliant but also provide a number of additional benefits—not to mention that they reduce human error and more accurately record information.  

Azuga Insight—one of the best RUC products on the market—includes road use tracking for road usage charging compliance. That’s in addition to other features and premium services that can improve your fleet and benefit your drivers. 

For road usage charging, drivers can view their road usage information including miles traveled, fuel tax credit, and their wallet balance. Drivers love that there is zero paperwork required with Azuga. 

Here are some of Azuga Insight’s top features. 

Don’t Miss Payments

Azuga can ensure you don’t miss required tax payments. The digital wallet automatically manages your money and includes pre-pay and alert functions. 

Visual Trip Logs 

With visual trip logs—included in Azuga Insights at no additional cost—users can track where they travel and view details such as trip duration, cost, and even their carbon footprint. Routes can easily be shared. 

Monitor Battery Performance

Azuga Insights can also help you monitor your vehicle’s battery’s performance and alert you when it’s time for a replacement. You can also set up “safe zones”: geographic boundaries where, if your vehicle enters or exits the area, you’ll receive a notification. 

At-Home Emissions Testing

Don’t want to leave your house to get emissions testing done? No problem. With Azuga Remote Emissions Service participants in the OReGO program can complete mandated vehicle emissions tests with a few easy button clicks at home—or anywhere. 

This electronic service is free and certified by the Oregon Department of Transportation. To be eligible vehicles need to have an OBD port, be classified as light-duty, have a fuel economy of 20 miles-per-gallon or better, and be registered to someone who is a resident of Oregon. 

Find it Forward

With Find it Forward, Azuga helps you find places like gas stations, hospitals, ATMs, and restaurants that are near your current location and in the direction you are going. 

Engine Information

Azuga can even provide information on your vehicle’s engine. Azuga devices connect directly to your vehicle’s OBD-II port and relay important data on how well your engine is functioning.

Conclusion

Road usage charging is still in its infancy in the United States, with only Oregon enacting a fully functioning RUC program. 

However, declining fuel tax revenue and an increase in demand for fuel-efficient and electric vehicles could drive more states to turn to RUC programs to fill their funding gaps for transportation infrastructure. 
Azuga has already created cutting-edge technology to help drivers remain compliant with RUC programs. If you want to not only record the number of miles you drive for road usage charging, but also have access to a number of incredible features with the same device, check out Azuga Insights.

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Fleet Dispatching

If you manage a fleet, you probably already understand the delicate dance that is fleet dispatching. If not, you may not realize just how crucial this process is to the success of any fleet-based business. 

What Is Fleet Dispatching?

Simply put, fleet dispatching is the process by which commercial fleet drivers are sent out into the field to make deliveries, service customers, and handle other business-related tasks. But it involves so much more than simply telling drivers, “you go there.” Good fleet dispatching may also involve considerations for traffic conditions, road hazards, driver skill sets, customer preferences, and onboard equipment. When done correctly, it’s a skillful juggling act that helps a business reach its daily goals. When poorly handled, it can be a disaster for all concerned.

What Is a Fleet Dispatcher?

A fleet dispatcher is a person in charge of scheduling and arranging dispatch for a commercial fleet. Small fleets may have a single dispatcher to manage all calls, while larger enterprise fleets may employ an entire team. 

A fleet dispatcher must clearly understand schedules and routes, job proficiencies, fuel management, fleet maintenance, and regulations related to hours of service and other fleet compliance issues. A good fleet dispatcher knows the drivers in the fleet well and can anticipate their scheduling needs and which jobs they are most suited to handle. Fleet dispatchers must be masters of communication and have elite organizational skills.

Fleet Dispatch Software from Azuga

Fleet dispatching is as much an art as a science, and it can be overwhelming at times. The best way to support the fleet dispatchers on your team is to give them tools and technology that make the job easier. Fortunately, Azuga offers the answers to all of your fleet dispatching conundrums

Our GPS Fleet Tracking software can keep track of all the vehicles in your fleet along with large equipment and other assets. Dispatchers can use this information to see which vehicles are nearby when a job pops up. What’s more, we offer top-notch route optimization tools to help guide drivers around road construction, accidents, and other hazards that might prevent them from getting to their destination on time. We can even help you schedule routine maintenance, promote road safety, and automatically deliver dispatch notifications to drivers in the field. 

Learn about all the ways Azuga Fleet can help your commercial fleet stay productive and efficient while simplifying maintenance schedules and creating a culture of safety on the road. Schedule an Azuga demo today!

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Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, such as a residence or a retail store. This step must be as quick and efficient as possible to ensure that customers are satisfied, and products move as much as possible. What is last mile delivery, and how can businesses perfect it? 

Steps of Last Mile Delivery

There are five steps to last mile delivery to go through to ensure it is accurate and efficient. 

  1. Enter orders into a centralized system
    You've been tracking the order all along. At this point, the customer is most likely also tracking it through a tracking number. It’s essential that you track the order to know precisely where it is if they have any questions along the way. 
  1. Orders arrive at the transportation hub. 
    Last mile delivery begins at this step. From here, the business must ensure that the order gets to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. 
  1. Designate delivery personnel. 
    Designate delivery personnel to deliver the parcel using a last-mile logistics solution. 
  1. Load orders onto delivery vehicles. 
    Scan each item before loading them onto the delivery vehicles. This is an important part of tracking as it updates the sender and the recipient as to the order's status. You don’t want anything to get lost along the way. 
  1. The order reaches the recipient. 
    Once the order reaches the customer, the last mile delivery process is complete. Be sure to update the tracking information to indicate the item has been delivered. 

Last Mile Delivery Challenges

Big-name companies like Amazon and Walmart are replacing last mile delivery with middle mile delivery. With middle mile delivery, the company owns the fulfillment, so the delivery process goes from the port to the fulfillment center. The problem with last mile delivery is that it is expensive: it can account for 53% of a shipment’s total costs. Supply chain inefficiencies are increasing as need grows, and so costs are only going up. It’s vital to optimize last mile delivery if you want to use it for your business. 

How to Optimize Last Mile Delivery

Technology is the answer to optimizing last mile delivery. Route planning software, for example, can minimize delivery costs and cut the time that it takes to deliver. Auto dispatching also helps to cut down on mistakes and time. Finally, gathering data and getting detailed reports can help identify problems in your operations and tell you how to improve upon your weaknesses. Fleet management software like Azuga offers all of these features and more to help optimize your last mile delivery options. 

Conclusion

Last mile delivery is still the standard way smaller businesses do their deliveries, and Azuga makes it possible to keep last mile delivery, even while competing with big retailers. Find out more about Azuga by reading our blog or visiting our website.

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Last Mile Carrier

Last mile carriers are the shipping companies that carry out last mile deliveries. Examples of last mile carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and regional carriers. Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, which may be a residence or a retail store. Last mile carriers offer many benefits, which we will outline below. 

Tracking

Many last mile carriers allow customers to track their package on a map or see how many stops away it is. Other providers give customers a very specific estimated arrival time. Previously, it could only be estimated within windows of several hours, so this is an impressive and essential feat for customer service. 

Ability to Communicate with the Driver

If anything is needed when delivery drivers are on the road, it used to be impossible to get in touch with them. Now, apps allow customers to communicate directly with their drivers to update them on any changes that come up during the delivery window. 

SMS Updates

One benefit of tracking drivers is sending SMS updates if a package is ever delayed, and even update customers on when it arrives so they can plan their day accordingly. They no longer need to worry about expensive packages being lost or stolen, since they can pick them up right away. It’s ideal for keeping customers updated and satisfied. 

Delivery Ratings

Customers can rate how their deliveries went and leave feedback that delivery companies can use to improve their methods and improve customer service even further. Customers appreciate their voices being heard, and companies need to hear how their employees are doing. 

Conclusion

Last mile carriers are an integral part of the last mile delivery system. Last mile fleets must have the technology to track delivery drivers and update customers with necessary information. Azuga offers this technology and more to help streamline operations and keep everything running smoothly with the entire last mile delivery process. Find out more on our website.

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