Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities
I am a big fan of charging insurance based on kilometres driven, although the rates would have to be set after the fact through credits or surcharges once the odometer count is verified--and thus it would be difficult to implement. A self-reporting trust-and-spot-verify approach might work if the surcharges were graduated rather than stepped. For instance, if people knew that going over 10,000 km/year kicked them into a higher rate, they would have a huge incentive to lie or tamper with the odometer. Odometer-fixing is trivial and all to common. If, however, the surcharge were simply 3 cents per kilometre, then self-reporting and random verification might work.
As a counterpoint, remember that the carbon footprint of a car has so much to do with its manufacturing and storage (taking up asphalt or garage space) that charging by actual usage misses some of the point. If we actually want to deter car ownership, usage-based billing is counter-productive.
In any case, a simpler method of usage-based taxation, charging at the pump, is already in place, and at least appears to be used to subsidize transit (if you believe the province and Translink).
On your final point, ICBC already gives a discount to drivers who claim not to use their vehicle for commuting. This is of course not verified.
The real solution, CLOSE THE TAR SANDS, and drive up petrol prices through scarcity of supply. Yes, this is a social justice issue; people who are necessarily car dependent (almost everyone in the suburbs and all of BC's rural areas) will be big losers. We need to take care of these people first, or there will be no health care, access to food, or access to jobs in more rural areas. We need these people, because--among other things--they grow our food!