Guidelines for ITS deployment in urban areas – Smart Ticketing

From the Urban ITS Expert Group: Smart Ticketing Guidelines for ITS deployment in urban areas (January 2013). Please find a copy of the summary:


Smart Ticketing has been a topic for over a decade now, but what does the term “smart” mean in this context? When using this term, we’re generally talking about new technologies and integration of services not directly linked to the basic functions of tickets. The main issues of Smart Ticketing are:

  • Propose complementary services to users in relation with their mobility
  • Modify relationship between Public Transport user and his/her ticket as also between Public Transport operator and its tickets
  • Improve overall efficiency and image of Public Transport network as also the depth of data created through usage

Smart Ticketing could permit to contribute to the overall improvement of the public transport network level of services, image, accessibility, with the main aim to facilitate and/or increase the use of public transport and so contribute to the overall political goal of developing a sustainable transport policy. Smart Ticketing though is NOT necessarily about having ONE ticket for your journey but having ONE wallet for SEVERAL tickets.

There are a number of potential implementation choices within the guidelines for Smart Ticketing:

  • Smart Ticketing using a dedicated application
  • Smart Ticketing based on the virtualisation of tickets
  • Smart Ticketing based on secure identity and back-office processing

One of the main trends that could be extracted with the development of Smart Ticketing is that we are more and more personalising the “ticket”, the contract used by the final user. The differing needs (and ‘ways of consuming’ i.e. PT services shall be seen as a consumer good and sold/marketed as such) of groups or communities of people are becoming a challenge for the implementation of the Transport and the Fare Policies.

Implementing Smart Ticketing also means thinking of the stakeholders and their needs, therefore how to respond to these needs and elaborate marketing accordingly. To date, the main stakeholders are clients, politicians and authorities, public transport operators, scheme providers, suppliers, payment industry, media and lobbies. Specific focus should be paid to the final user’s needs (easiness, simplicity and fairness), public policy needs (shift in modal split reducing car travel, reduction of pollution, optimisation of operational efficiency, reduction of public expenses) and the transport operator’s needs (reduce operational costs of ticketing, improve fare collection efficiency, improve knowledge of customer’s behaviour/choices/preferences).

It is also important to recognise the trends and act appropriately. The trends in ticketing can be specified as ‘from magnetic to contactless’, ‘from cash to smart payment’, ‘from in-house/on the field sales channels to externalised/remote ones’, ‘from mono-application to multi-application devices’, the ‘impact on infrastructure itself’ and the ‘impact on fare evasion’.

Smart Ticketing should have an impact on the way Public Transport is used. Using a ticket, or wallet, not only for transportation but for mobility services in general could improve the image of Public Transport. Access to fare information and easier remote sales will also help the cause, whereas privacy concerns must be addressed in a code of conduct to be able to develop a trust relationship with customers.

The development of Smart Ticketing in a global urban ITS perspective has to be built in respect to local organisations and to the decentralised nature inherent to public transport and to the importance of its public funding.

The recommendations to deploy Smart Ticketing are therefore:

  • General: Smart Ticketing should not be seen as a simple replacement for traditional paper or magnetic ticketing. An important step is identifying which features and functionalities of Smart Ticketing can be adopted and how they will integrate with the customers’ wider mobility requirements. The introduction of Smart Ticketing is also an opportunity to rethink the current fare policy and to offer additional/alternative fare possibilities to customers.
  • Business models: Smart Ticketing is a global business and is, for the first time, being driven by standards. This allows off-the-shelf technology to be adopted with only limited local tailoring to reflect specific tariff structures and cross-modal opportunities. By using open International Standards for Smart Ticketing, Public Transport Operators can access supply chains that are responsive, cheaper and address industry best practice.
  • >Distribution channels: Smart Ticketing must allow passengers to plan and book their travel through their choice of distribution and retail channels. This goal required a new system that can accommodate the speed, power and flexibility necessary to handle multiple distribution channels for ticket sales, including contactless payment and pre-loaded value.
  • Smart wallets: Smart Ticketing covers not just pre-payment and the loading of a ticket onto the smartcard or phone, but can also include post-payment where the customer is identified on entering / leaving a closed system and verified that they are authorised to travel or have suitable payment mechanism available (whether that is a contactless bankcard or pre-arranged credit). A smart wallet also gives the opportunity to integrate other services whether transport related (e.g. bike or car sharing, parking), associated (e.g. tourism information) or non-transport related (e.g. shopping, use fees).
  • Marketing issues / public support: Urban ITS decision makers should now systematically look for integration in such wider organisations to take benefit from the mutualisation of standard technical tool boxes as well as to insert their customer offer in a wider market.
  • Organisational and legal issues: Urban and national transport decision makers must actively support the development and implementation of European and international Specifications for Smart Ticketing to ensure mutual compatibility between all schemes.
  • Integration with travel information and traffic management: By creating a linkage between Travel Information, Journey Planning, Payment and Smart Ticketing, including a liaison with compatible mobile phone and contactless bankcard schemes in Europe, Smart Ticketing can ensure the customer experience consistently meets their highest expectation. As a result this can foster co-modality/intermodality. Interoperability in transport Smart Ticketing implies removing the obstacles for the customer to switching transport modes. All ticketing needs for through journeys should be in one place and on their local transport Smart Ticketing media, even outside their home network. There should be simple registration processes in place so that the customer has a standardised machine interface and easy access in his/her own language.
  • Development of Smart Ticketing standards: The use of international and open standards can facilitate interoperability, the opening of global markets and compatibility between devices produced by different suppliers.
  • Data privacy: Protection of the customer’s privacy is an ethical requirement of confidentiality, un-linkability, un-observability and anonymity. A low level of protection not only could be punished as a violation of the law but would damage customer acceptance.

(((eTicket Germany is ready for the future

Sjef Janssen and Daniel Krings, VDV-Kernapplikations GmbH & Co. KG, part of VDV (the Association of German Transport Companies). Eurotransport, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2013, page 18-20. (((eTicket Germany is ready for the future

Public transport e-Ticketing in Germany started in the 1990’s like in so many other nations. In those days, interested German public transport operators and authorities could not fall back on a nationwide standard for Electronic Fare Management (EFM). The result found about 35 different smart card projects dotted all over Germany. Since then, there has been a dramatic change in passengers’ behaviour and requirements. customers want to buy their tickets quickly and simply and do not want to have to work their way through a complicated fare structure before they get the right ticket. So, in 2002, with funding from the German government, the Association of German Transport Companies (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen (VDV)) started developing a standard for e-Ticketing in public transport.


Share this

Mobile NFC in Transport

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities.

In September 2012, GSMA and UITP co-published the white paper Mobile NFC in Transport  to help create a common understanding of Smart Ticketing interoperability on both sides. The problem area – interoperability – lies on both sides: the very fragmented public transport sector clinging to subsidiarity; and the competitive private sector finding it hard to offer a truly global solution.

The difficult work on this paper – bringing two very different worlds together – started about one year before and it was the start of a close relationship between GSMA and UITP (through the Smart Ticketing Alliance).

Clearly, the mutual understanding has progressed since September 2012 but this document may still provide you with the necessary background knowledge!

Share this

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 !

The European IFM Project: delivering smartcard ticketing across borders

John Verity, Chief Advisor, ITSO Limited, UK, Co-ordinator, EU-IFM Project, ITSO Limited. The European IFM Project delivering smartcard ticketing across borders.

The EC-funded European Interoperable Fare Management (EU-IFM) Project is designed to make access to public transport networks more user-friendly by facilitating their accessibility through smartcards. By 2015 compatibility in smart ticketing systems will ease access to all the users of public transport. The objective of the IFM Project is to provide travellers with shared types of contact-less media throughout Europe. Whether a smartcard, and NFC-enabled mobile phone, or a USB-dongle, it can be used for multiple transport products (“tickets”) in different geographic areas and for sustainable modal switching, such as the use of “Park and Ride”. Today, most media are restricted for use in specific networks. Payment will no longer be a barrier to travel.

IFM Project – A seamless travel initiative: Preliminary work

This is a very extensive article about the IFM Project by Gilles de Chantérac, Consultant, Member of UITP IT&I Commission: IFM Project – A seamless travel initiative: Preliminary work

For fifteen years now electronic ticketing has been a central theme at seminars, conferences and congresses, including two specialist events held by UITP (first in Bologna, Italy then in Karlsruhe, Germany). Initial discussions focused largely on the technology and on proving that ‘contactless’ could be more robust and more reliable than ‘magnetic’.