About Smart Cards : Applications : Transportation

Transportation Applications

Smart cards are used worldwide in transportation applications, with millions of smart cards in use for both transit fare payment and parking fee payment.

Smart Card Alliance Transportation Resources

This report provides an overview of an approach for transit/financial payment convergence that leverages co-branding card business models and the multi-application capabilities provided by smart card technology.

The Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council white paper, EMV and Parking, was developed in partnership with the International Parking Institute. The updated white paper provides parking industry stakeholders with an educational resource about the critical aspects of deploying an EMV solution in the parking infrastructure. The white paper provides an overview of EMV chip technology and describes key considerations and refreshed implementation scenarios for parking industry stakeholders who want to accept and process EMV chip transactions in both attended and unattended environments. Download white paper. View executive summary.

This white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council to provide an overview of the prepaid card industry and the products available, including network-branded prepaid cards. It is directed to readers who work for or support transit agencies. The paper provides guidance on what transit agencies should look for when evaluating the feasibility and benefits of using prepaid cards as one element of an open loop fare collection system. The paper also provides useful information to other members of the prepaid card industry who have an interest in collaborating with the mass transit industry to expand the use of prepaid cards.

This white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council to discuss mobile applications that are relevant to the transit industry and to provide an overview of the benefits and implementation considerations for NFC applications.

This white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council to present a conventional approach for planning, conducting a cost analysis, and procuring a new fare payment system or upgrading an existing system. Additionally, a cost model is presented that allows the user to input an agency’s current fare payment and fare collection costs and compare them to the costs for proposed alternative systems. The cost model is available as an Excel workbook and provides an interactive tool for agencies to use to assess different fare payment system alternatives.

The Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council white paper, Reference Enterprise Architecture for Transit Open Payment System, was developed to support developers, integrators, procurers, and users of open payment systems for transit and transportation services with a framework for specifying, developing, integrating and managing the lifecycle and evolution of these systems. The framework provides a model for implementing a seamless fare payment system that traverses transportation modes, jurisdictions, markets, and technologies. Download white paperView executive summary.

This white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council to provide the transit and financial industries with an educational overview of the various methods available for providing and re-loading fare media to individuals who do not have credit or debit cards, nor checking or savings accounts, and generally lack relationships with traditional banking institutions.

This report provides an overview of the smart card technology use in the parking and transit markets, discusses the benefits and challenges of using smart card technology for parking applications and includes profiles of successful transportation sector smart card implementations.

This white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council to inform the transit industry of the opportunities, benefits and challenges of accepting contactless open bank cards for fare payment and to inform the bank card industry of unique requirements for transit fare collection.

This resource page provides information on transit agency implementations, pilots and planned procurements of open payments fare collection systems.

This white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council to outline the approaches that the transit industry uses throughout payment systems to ensure the security of transactions and data and to discuss recent research on one contactless chip product that is used in many transit AFC systems.

Smart Cards and Transit

Mass transit agencies worldwide have been using stored value prepaid cards for electronic ticketing since the 1970s. Through the late 1990s, this market steadily began transitioning from magnetic stripe technology to contactless smart cards. Today, virtually all transit fare payment systems use contactless smart cards as the primary ticket medium. Major deployments are already operational in cities around the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Tokyo.

Since the late 1990s, U.S. transit agencies have made significant investments in contactless smart card-based automatic fare collection (AFC) systems, with over $1 billion in contracts awarded for new systems that incorporate the latest developments in information technology (IT). Most of these systems use agency-branded contactless smart cards as the primary fare medium. Most major U.S. metropolitan areas now have closed-loop, stored value contactless smart card-based AFC systems including: Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Oakland; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Diego; Seattle; Minneapolis; Houston; Boston; Philadelphia; Atlanta; and the New York/New Jersey area.

While the transit industry was investing in smart card-based AFC systems, parallel developments were taking place in the financial industry:  the introduction of contactless credit, debit and prepaid payment products; new programs and rules for low value transactions; and processing approaches that can handle micropayments cost effectively.  Both of these industries also settled on the common ISO/IEC 14443 standard defining the card/reader interface.  These developments created opportunities for transit agencies to directly accept contactless bank cards for fare payment at the point of entry where the fare media is ordinarily presented.

Two U.S. transit agencies, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) have fully operational fare collection systems that accept open contactless bank cards at the point of entry/exit to their transit system.  In addition, two major North American transit agencies, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), are now migrating to open contactless bank card payments.  In addition, Transport for London also accepts open contactless bank card payments for pay as you go travel across the bus, Tube, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), tram and London Overground network.

Additional detail on transit use of smart cards can be found in the Smart Card Alliance white paper Transit and Contactless Open Payments: An Emerging Approach for Fare Collection and on the Transit Open Payments Resources web page.

North American Transit Smart Card Projects and Implementations

The following are active transit smart card implementations in the U.S. and Canada:

International Transit Smart Card Projects and Implementations

Selected active international transit smart card implementations are listed below.

Smart Cards and Parking

As the United States moves to an EMV payments infrastructure, parking industry stakeholders across the payments value chain recognize the need to learn about EMV in order to plan for EMV migration.  The white paper, EMV and Parking, was developed in partnership with the International Parking Institute. The white paper provides parking industry stakeholders with an educational resource about the critical aspects of deploying an EMV solution in the parking infrastructure.

The use of contact smart card technology is also well established in the parking market, with parking equipment vendors providing solutions for all segments: single-space meters, multi-space meters, and off-street parking.  In addition to contact smart card-based programs, transit agencies using contactless smart cards for fare payment are expanding the use of the card to pay for parking. Active programs in the U.S. include: WMATA SmarTrip; Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO), operating in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).

Other Transportation Resources