NFC-Ticketing in public transport

Mobile phones are being used as a ticketing medium in public transport. This is thanks to GSMA, the NFC Forum and STA.

Use case NFC

NFC chips are integrated into smartphones and ensure that customers can pay contactlessly with their cell phones in retail or gastronomy. Since 2018, electronic tickets for public transport can also be read out on smartphones via NFC and thus checked. In 2006, the first specification for NFC tags was published. Also in 2006, NOKIA launched the first NFC-enabled cell phone. The potential of contactless data transmission for ticketing in public transport was recognized quite quickly. As of 2013, there were around 100 models of cell phones and smartphones worldwide that could exchange data via NFC. At the end of 2014, Apple also announced that it would install the NFC standard starting with the iPhone 6.

In order to avoid having to test each smartphone launched on the market individually for compatibility, public transport had to agree with smartphone manufacturers on a common NFC standard for mobile devices. Accordingly, the American Public Transport Association (APTA), East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and the Smart Ticketing Alliance (STA) joined forces. Together, this alliance covered about 80% of the eTicket systems in use worldwide. They developed several NFC use cases for examples of NFC smartphone use in public transport within an open NFC eco-system. These require the use of the open ISO standards 18092 and 21481. In parallel, the GSMA - the world association of GSM network operators - has created and documented requirements for mobile NFC terminals that cover the use of mobile ticketing and public transport services.

On the subject of standardization, this GSMA issues so-called test books in which the guard rails for the technical requirements of smartphones are defined so that they can be certified and function worldwide. On the subject of NFC, the GSMA follows the recommendations of the NFC Forum. this space to add more details about your site, a customer quote, or to talk about important news.
To ensure that global interoperability is achieved between the RFID infrastructure in public transport and the NFC technology in smartphones, the NFC Forum and the Global Certification Forum (GCF) are  also cooperating with each other since that. This will ensure that uniform tests and certifications of future NFC smartphone generations are available. As a result, the NFC world is slipping closer together and harmonizing its technology requirements.

Read more about this use case in the following Documentation of Use Cases for NFC Mobile Devices in Public Transport (October 2016)

Working Group standardisation

The NFC ticketing use case above is the result of the work of the standardisation working group. The same applies to the use cases for interoperable fare collection system data exchange. The following document aims to identify the business processes and related use cases that IFMS data exchange should cover.

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