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New Device Certification Release and Related White Paper Support Pathway to Public Transport Interoperability

A decade ago, Public Transport smartcard schemes each had their own unique specifications and a smartcard issued by one scheme could not work in other locations. The European Commission funded EU-IFM Project and now the Smart Ticketing Alliance have worked to define the business rules and requirements to allow smart ticketing schemes to interoperate and the customer to be able to use just one device to travel across schemes and borders.

The Smart Ticketing Alliance, with support from colleagues in the Americas and the Far East, have worked with the NFC Forum and the GSMA to ensure the specific requirements of public transport smartcard schemes are reflected in the latest NFC and mobile handset specifications.  The STA is proud of its formal liaison with the NFC Forum and GSMA, and to see it come to fruition in the White Paper and latest press release from the NFC Forum.

Smart Ticketing

Smart Ticketing – A new Alliance to break through interoperability barriers
John Verity, Chief Advisor, ITSO Limited, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

[an edited transcription by Johan van Ieperen – previously published on myUITP]

The Smart Ticketing Alliance represents a platform for cooperation and a coordinated approach for establishing ticketing interoperability for the Public Transport sector. It is an initiative by Calypso Networks Association, AFIMB (France), ITSO (UK), VDV (Germany) and UITP.

Smarter Travel

Smarter Travel is about joining up the different elements of a journey the passenger wants to make. We start with giving the customer the information necessary to plan the itinerary from one door to another door. Their journey goes from A to B and may cover many different modes of travel: on foot, bicycle, taxi, bus, tram metro, local, regional, national and international trains and even air travel. We are already well on our way on sharing the level of information necessary for our customers to plan that entire journey (e.g. through Open Data, using third party developers creating Journey Planner Applications).

The Smart Ticketing Alliance (STA) works from the other extreme: providing the permission to undertake that journey (booking the travel entitlements: the tickets)! Interoperable ticketing requires working towards specifications to put all those permissions inside and alongside in an electronic wallet.

It does not matter whether that wallet contains real tickets or just a token which refers to a back office where the data necessary to identify you during that journey. Furthermore, it can be pay-to-go, or a post paid system. In fact, it can be free of charge (i.e. concessionary fares – even if you do not have to pay a cent, you still have to be able to prove that you can travel for free).

When travel information and ticketing come together, the circle can be closed. We can actually start to redefine the journey based on real time information when there are disruptions in the services. The customer could receive a new itinerary and new permissions to travel using available alternatives.

Challenges

Smart Travel is about seamless mobility – to take away barriers even if that leg of the trip does not cost anything, like for walking. It has to cover all the elements (connections, itinerary, ticketing, and payment) from door to door, the last mile, for all modes, and across all borders.

Not one size fits all – we have to recognise this as a fact: there needs to be a balance between subsidiarity and interoperability. We are not going to provide one ticket that covers the entire journey. We will have to accept local solutions which are only applicable in that certain area. This requires a bottom-up approach (not top-down).

Taking the United Kingdom as an example where there is true interoperability on the rail network: with s about 2.800 stations, in theory, the matrix counts 2.800 x 2.800 travel possibilities. But when including the different fares, the matrix counts over 300 million cells! If the UK system is to be expanded to a European wide system including all transport modes then clearly that is moving many steps too far.

Moreover, we need to have an Open Architecture and Specifications for the way in which we will hold those permissions to travel. We already have Open Data in terms of Journey Planning (time tables, stop / station / facility locations, are they accessible, lifts and escalator status, etc) but we also have to look at ticketing in this way. Here we also have inter-/multi-/co-modal, cross-border, multi operated journeys, and all of those tickets can reside in that same single wallet which the customer then feels covers the whole of their journey unlike the situation today, scrabbling in their pockets for a collection of different sized tickets, some smart, some paper, some A4 sized or little bits of paper that get lost easily in the folds of your physical wallet. We have to be open and have a single specification for all of that

Smart Ticketing

In addition to the above, smart ticketing will have to include: Point-to-Point Tickets; period passes; concessionary travel; pay-on-entry and pay-as-you-go; and complex specialised ticketing requirements (e.g. Apex, reservations, venue entry). The Smart Ticketing Alliance is looking at the specifications and underlying requirements that are there in order to encourage integrated travel.

Interoperability

The results from the EU IFM project (Interoperable Fare Management) nearly 4 years ago found that Public Transport needs interoperability at three levels: Local Schemes (to move within a city, within a region); National Schemes (within a state or a country); and International Schemes (especially where there is the employment, recreational or other reasons for cross-border travel between countries).

We are not talking about having to use the same tickets everywhere to cover all and the whole of such journeys, but there needs to be the interoperability of the single tickets so they can all be held in the same place. To avoid any misunderstanding: the type or price of the interoperable tickets is not subject to standardisation – only the way we handle them!

The EU IFM project has now moved forward into the Smart Ticketing Alliance.

Deliverables

The Alliance is going to provide a number of smart ticketing deliverables required for the wider smarter travel environment:

  • Seamless integration between journey planning, retailing, ticketing and real-time information using the traveller’s preferred media (e.g. a bank card or their mobile phone). The standards and specifications must be open enough to cover all of those media’s requirements.
  • We must be able to link-in to a One Stop smart access to public transport (e.g. a web portal) which in turn is linked with wider entitlements  (e.g. concessionary travel, integrated Student Cards, social entitlement) or Event Management – a greater need for wider integration is ahead.
  • Where payment does take place, it has to co-reside in a comparable parallel way. Only about 30% of the journeys across Europe actually involve payment at the point of taking that journey!

In the UK, students are beginning to drive the developments in public transport. Recent statistics show, that for the first time ever, the young age group up to the age of 25, now exceeds the over 60 group of being the major user of buses. Traditionally it was always the older you got the more you use the bus, now it is switching the other way around!

STA Goals

  • Cooperation between national and regional Smart Ticketing schemes to establish interoperable Smart Ticketing in Europe and elsewhere.
  • Develop, agree and publish the functional and technical requirements for smart ticketing interoperability
  • Cooperation for the establishment of Trust Schemes, Specifications and Certification
  • Cooperation with other European and International Bodies to promote interoperability in Smart Ticketing

Increasingly the customer will bring his own smart medium (e.g. thier mobile phone or tablet). We need to be able to trust those media. At the same time, the customers are only going to use smart cards if they trust them to hold their tickets securely, particularly when they have a high value – some annual UK rail tickets can cost in excess of 20.000 Euros. This is even a challenge for mobile network operators who tend to think in phone calls costing in the area of Euros or even tens of Euros but not thousends of Euros.

The STA works closely together with CEN (European standardisation body), GSMA (the association of all mobile network operators), the NFC Forum (Handset manufacturers), UIC and Unife (rail sector), etc.

Opportunities

Open Standards, Specifications and Certification offer the public transport sector a unique opportunity:

  • Create ticketing interoperability between schemes
  • Co-exist with other Applications
  • Use 3rd party media (e.g. mobile phones)
  • Access to Best Practice (sharing findings and innovation)
  • Benefit from scale economics in product development,  procurement and speed of implementation
  • Provide a Trusted Service based on Minimum Specifications, Open Standards and Composite Certification

Opportunities for Smart Ticketing in the wider environment:

  • Door-to-door travel integration – seamless integration between Journey Planning, Retailing, Ticketing and Real Time Information
  • Full integration between bus and rail: making multi-modal / multi-operator really happen
  • One smart access to Public Transport and wider Entitlements  (e.g. concessionary travel, integrated Student Cards, social entitlement) – Venue and Event integration with Public Transport
  • Enhanced Modal Switching as part of a wider greening of  transport – Integration with Car and Bike hire schemes
  • One-stop opportunities with NFC-enabled Mobile Phones – linking to the retail business

john.verity@itso.org.uk – www.itso.org.uk – +44 1908 255 455 – www.smart-ticketing.org

EC Vice President congratulates the Smart Ticketing Alliance

After the press release about the establishment of the Smart ticketing Alliance, UITP President Peter Hendy received a supportive letter from European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas.

“I would like to thank and congratulate you and the Smart Ticketing Alliance team for the key role you are playing to make transport ticketing across Europe simpler and easier for all passengers. The Alliances’ efforts, I am sure, will be pivotal in bringing the local transport component into our initiatives.”

Siim Kallas goes on to mention that this work complements well with their own work towards multi-modal journey planning and ticketing. He expects that the Alliance will help answer his two year old question of “Why can we not yet plan or book our journey through Europe – switching between several modes – in one go and online?”. Nevertheless, he sees barriers ahead, not in the least in ensuring the provision of up-to-date information from all modes of transport.

“Your recent initiative is however an important milestone. I wish you the best of fortune with the Alliance and continued strong cooperation with all stakeholders involved in this journey.”

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Smart Ticketing Alliance established for simpler and easier ticketing systems across Europe

The establishment of the Smart Ticketing Alliance (STA) was announced in an official UITP press release, 28 June 2013.

Following the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in February 2012, a Smart Ticketing Alliance Charter has now been agreed by representatives of VDV KA (Germany), ITSO (United Kingdom), AFIMB (France) and Calypso Network Association (CNA), together with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).

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This is another major step forward in making transport ticketing across parts of Europe simpler and easier for passengers!

According to this Charter , the Alliance will be a platform for global cooperation to realise a coordinated approach to establishing Smart Ticketing interoperability for the public transport sector. The Charter includes cooperation on, and establishment of, a trust scheme for public transport that mirrors the Trust Schemes in the mobile phone industry and banking.

The February 2012 MoU agreement already committed the Alliance to cooperate based on the principles of Interoperable Fare Management (IFM) as set out in the EU-IFM Project funded by the European Commission (2008-2010) and the developments in contactless bankcards and NFC-enabled devices, particularly mobile phones.

The main goals of the Alliance are:

  • Cooperation between national and regional Smart Ticketing schemes to establish interoperable Smart Ticketing in Europe and elsewhere.
  • To develop, agree and publish the functional and technical requirements for smart ticketing interoperability.
  • Cooperation on the establishment of Trust Schemes, Specifications and Certification.
  • Cooperation with other European and International bodies to promote interoperability in Smart Ticketing.

The Founding Members of the Smart Ticketing Alliance invite other European stakeholders to join either as Full Members or Associated Members. Full membership is open to national ticketing schemes and regional groups of public transport operators and authorities cooperating in the electronic Smart Ticketing area. Others are welcomed as Associated Members.

A coordinating Secretariat will be established for the Smart Ticketing Alliance from within the UITP to provide a single contact point.

The actual press release can be downloaded here .

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Memorandum of Understanding

Twenty months after the successful EU-IFM Project, it became high time to set “The next step in creating Electronic Ticketing Interoperability for Europe”. Lobbying for a follow-up project to implement IFM found no resonance and thus a strong political statement from the public transport sector was needed, hence a Memorandum of Understanding .

Again the stakeholders addressed the European Commission about the need for support and ways of funding the development and demonstration of the new IFM solutions for interoperability. It was proposed to set up an EU IFM ALLIANCE with the support of the EU Commission.

This Alliance (still refered to as “the IFM Alliance” after the IFM Project) was to create a trust scheme for Public Transport Smartcards that mirrors the Trust Schemes in mobile phone and banking industry. The EU IFM ALLIANCE trust scheme would cover:

  • Rules, specifications and governance requirements for membership
  • Compliance checking, award of certification, and actions to be taken in the event of noncompliance
  • A recognisable scheme mark and published list of compliant schemes in the Trust network
  • Manage relationships with other trust schemes

Additionally the EU-IFM ALLIANCE would be required to set up an EU Ticketing Web-Portal through which customers can access member scheme web-sites in order to download apps for their respective ticketing schemes. This portal could be linked to other EU initiatives to create EU-wide Journey Planning and allow customers the opportunity to take the next step to buying the necessary ticket or permission to travel for their chosen journey.

Once the EU-IFM ALLIANCE would have been created and be operational, it was recommended that a pilot be created to test the portal, the trust scheme and the necessary compliance of smartcards as they interoperate between transport schemes and across mobile phone networks and with bankcards…

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been developed by representatives of the organisations for technical specifications of VDV KA, ITSO and Calypso together with representatives of UITP and AFIMB. The MoU presents a platform for a cooperation in the context of today’s infrastructures and systems. It will be presented also for other stakeholders asking for support and thus establish a European Alliance for developing European interoperability.

By signing this MoU

  • we support a further development of a European electronic ticketing interoperability
  • we agree on a platform for cooperation as outlined in this MoU
  • we support an IFM Alliance organised on a European level
  • we ask for a close cooperation with the European institutions and financial support for a EU-project as proposed in this MoU
  • we invite European stakeholders on national level for support and involvement in further development

The actual press release can be downloaded from here !