September 27, 2023

How ClearRoad offers an alternative solution to road and infrastructure funding

Erica Bickel

Content Marketing Manager

ClearRoad creates digital solutions to help maintain, manage, and fund our roads. Founded in response to overall EV growth and its consequential impact on the nationwide gas tax, ClearRoad strives to support government agencies implementing forward-thinking, adaptive road pricing policies to better U.S. infrastructure. To enable its flagship product’s compatibility with a host of different electric vehicles, ClearRoad utilized Smartcar’s APIs for automatic information-sharing and seamless integration.


At a glance


🚧 Problem: ClearRoad wanted a hardware-free, automatic alternative to manual inputs for its pioneer Road Usage Charge (RUC) offering.


💡 Solution: Smartcar collects and centralizes accurate, up-to-date vehicle information to simplify the end-user experience, and unlock the full potential of the ClearRoad platform.


📈 Results: The ClearRoad x Smartcar integration powers various government RUC programs, including some of the first introduced in the US.

What will happen when the gas tax becomes obsolete? As the nation shifts towards electric vehicle sales, governments both large and small are scrambling to answer this question. Without critical funding in place, the U.S. risks falling further behind in necessary infrastructure developments. While a pay-per-mile structure is now widely being considered at both the state and federal levels, current solutions on the market today still rely heavily on manual inputs. Not only is the information offered by these options limited, but they’re also fixed and costly to implement.

Faced with these facts, ClearRoad sought to create a simple data-processing rules engine for a transformative road pricing solution. This way, the states and municipalities themselves could determine how best to charge for use of their roads especially by electric vehicles, while allowing their solution to be adaptive to future changes and new trends.

Tailoring transportation solutions to fit the modern world

ClearRoad works by supplying the end-user (i.e. government agencies) with tailored solutions to match their transportation goals. Whether offering tiered pricing, promoting traffic reduction, or funding public transportation through RUC, ClearRoad’s solution is flexible and allows for the layering of different policies and programs to achieve varying transportation goals. Back-office and payment integrations streamline billing, collection, and payment remittance processes — ensuring seamless RUC program operations.

But to get where they are today, ClearRoad had to establish a new way of road usage charging, specifically built to address the needs of electric vehicles and simultaneous connected vehicle trends. The industry norm is still gas-powered cars, in which the submission of manual odometer readings, installation of gantries and traffic cameras, and purchase of in-vehicle plug-in devices or toll transponders is standard. To challenge this notion meant creating a new, next-generation RUC solution that eliminated physical inputs, unwieldy infrastructure, and expensive hardware.

The Smartcar x ClearRoad partnership brings RUC to the next level. Now, we can equip governments with the technology needed to implement sustainable transportation funding while improving the driver experience.

— Nadine Gutierrez, Marketing Lead at ClearRoad

Achieving a new way of RUC

To achieve this, ClearRoad needed access to reliable, up-to-date, and accurate vehicle information. When looking for an API platform, the company stressed the importance of data accessibility, security, and the ability to change as RUC policies continuously evolve. As Smartcar was already part of both the transportation and tech industries, the partnership was a natural choice. Boasting compatibility with a host of brands, makes, and models, Smartcar facilitated positive customer interactions through better product compatibility, quality of service, and ease of integration.

As a result, ClearRoad’s full-service suite benefits both governments and the drivers themselves. As a one-stop shop for a road usage charge solution, the deployment and execution of these programs is now fast, flexible, and hardware-free.


How ClearRoad evaluated Smartcar as their EV API platform


🔋 EV brand coverage


Smartcar is compatible with over 100 different EV models across 25 brands, making it easy to scale and implement ClearRoad’s RUC platform.


🧰 Comprehensive API platform


Developers work with a clear and detailed set of resources, including easy-to-use APIs, SDKs, and a powerful self-service dashboard.


✅ Platform reliability


Finding an API provider that could supply up-to-date, accurate vehicle information was a non-negotiable for ClearRoad. As a trusted partner, Smartcar continues to add new makes and models to the platform quarterly, ensuring compatibility is always current.

Looking ahead to a tangible future

ClearRoad’s ultimate goal has always been to provide governments with the tools they need to make RUC, particularly for electric vehicles, more attainable. By future-proofing transportation funding, the company hopes that the United States will never again struggle with crumbling infrastructure of any kind. While the states of Hawaii, Michigan, and the Eastern Transportation Coalition are just now exploring RUC programs, others have already begun implementing such plans. In the coming months, a federal-level RUC pilot may even come to fruition.

In the meantime, Smartcar will continue to be used as the API solution of choice for several of ClearRoad’s current RUC programs, redefining how RUC is implemented across the country and leveraging available technology.

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