Autonomous Vehicle Revenue Implications for Portland, Tigard, and Tualatin


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TriMet is known for maintaining a robust transportation network in the Portland, Oregon region.
Beyond the transportation services, TriMet works with municipalities in the region to make the
area a better place to live. The Portland region is expected to grow by 400,000 people in the
next 20 years. As the community grows, so will the cost of providing efficient transportation
services. In order to continue providing the level of service transit riders expect, TriMet and
cities served by TriMet need additional and new revenue.
The City of Portland is known for innovative transportation strategies and sustainable
living. The City of Tigard has the long-term vision of becoming the most walkable city in the
nation. The City of Tualatin has the vision of a transportation system that supports mobility,
connectivity, and accessibility for all modes. The city goals indicate a shared interest in creating
an equitable transportation system. Of particular interest for this report is the rapidly expanding
recognition and legislation of the use of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and shared vehicles. As
researchers look to the near future of the use of AVs and shared vehicles, policy makers in
Portland, Tigard, and Tualatin need to better understand the impact of such technology on not
only the environment, but on their respective budgets as well.
Interested in all of the possible innovative funding options at the city’s disposal, TriMet
partnered with Dr. Rebecca Lewis’ Public Budget Administration class. Graduate students in
the School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management collaborated with TriMet and city staff
in researching and evaluating several possible funding strategies.
Dedicating over 4,000 hours collectively, students worked both individually and as groups.
Students were assigned teams based on interests, background, and experience. Ultimately,
there were three Portland groups, two Tigard groups, and two Tualatin groups. First, students
in each group analyzed what transportation revenue would be impacted by shifts in technology.
The transportation revenue impact assumptions were primarily based on an Eno Center for
Transportation report (Fagnant and Kockelman, 2015). The revenue impacts helped students
understand the municipalities’ transportation funding structure and develop a baseline need
as a result of the shifting technology. Next, students worked to develop innovative revenue
options to meet the anticipated revenue gap due to shifting technology. Each group created
at least three revenue packages, evaluated those packages based on industry criteria, and
recommended one of those funding packages.
Finally, TriMet was presented with seven different funding packages, three focused on
Portland, two on Tigard, and two on Tualatin. This report summarizes the seven funding
packages into common recommendation themes. Appendicies A, B, and C contain detailed
summaries of current transportation revenue sources, potential new revenue sources, as
well as the calculations used to inform each recommendation. The report also includes a
compilation of each group’s original full report.
The funding packages utilized new funding solutions and traditional sources. The most
common new funding solution was a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax and the most common
traditional revenue source was restructuring or increasing vehicle registration fees. In the
future, each city and TriMet will have to address the desires and needs of their citizens, and
hopefully these recommendations will provide a useful starting point.

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.

Sustainable City Year Program Contact Info
Megan Banks
Sustainable City Year Program Manager
(541) 346-6395

University Faculty Contact
Rebecca Lewis
Planning, Public Policy and Management

Local Government / Community Contact
Eric Hesse

Strategic Planning Coordinator

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