Public Transit

GPS Everywhere – Smart Ticketing

The future of paying transportation services could become a lot easier and smarter – with electronic ticketing. Smart Cards are already evolving.

Electronic ticketing is a system where users pay by scanning an automated smart card on an electronic reader installed for example inside buses or at tram stations. Using GPS technology the location of the passenger’s entering and exiting can be determined. With this information the travelled distance – and the amount of fare to be paid – is computed.

In only a few years it could be possible for a passenger with his smart card in the pocket to enter a bus or train and without having to do anything the card is automatically registered. There would be no need for small change or even swiping the card because the so-called “be-in/be-out” system records and computes the fare by default.

Positive Experiences with Implementing Smart-Ticketing

According to a study on public transport smart cards, e-ticketing can significantly reduce the number of fare-beaters and counterfeit ticket frauds who cheat the system. Smart ticketing also largely prevents people from misuse and buying the wrong ticket by eluding uncertainty.

The automatic monitoring of trip routes, times, and route capacity utilization would furthermore make it possible for transport companies to reassess existing fare structures.This includes the design and more efficient management of concessionary fare schemes.

Smart-ticketing is also considered an opportunity to provide full integration and interoperability through one ticket across different modes and networks of transport, opening up new opportunities for innovative fare products.

For example, frequent travelers could be given discounts, passengers who travel during off-times could be rewarded in order to improve the transport system’s capacity utilization (peak pricing) and smart card users could accumulate mileage points each time they use their card for transport that are stored into value on the smart card.

Future Scenarios for Smart Ticketing Are Hardly Limited

The GPS technology does not only feed service providers with information on the busses’ location, but also the travelling person. This is a convenient additional service for the user to be informed for example about busses running late or being out of order.

The scenarios for future smart ticketing are almost unlimited. For example, the Smart Ticketing Alliance is aiming to lead the way towards a single transport implementation specification across Europe, making a multinational smart card possible.

In the future electronic ticketing could be applied to all means of transportation and maybe even be operable with the ec/ATM card or credit card or via smartphone – two objects almost everybody owns today.

In the long term smart cards could also integrate more functions including other areas besides public transport such as payment systems for parking or access for car- or bike-sharing vehicles – with the nearest offer located by GPS. Everything would be paid for via one single medium and users received only one bill at the end of the month.


Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.

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