Contactless technologies are permeating the public transport sector

Smart cards, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches are slowly becoming the new wallets to use on various public transportation mediums. A lot is being made by stakeholders in the mass transit field, and a global transportation experience that rhymes with facility and ease of mind is in the making.

Contactless payment is slowly easing itself out of its infancy stage

Munich, Montreal, and London are some of the few metropolitan centres to have been caught in the recently emerging trend of contactless payments. The way in which those big cities have decided to implement the transaction method on a large scale would be a capital aspect of urban life: day to day transit. Traveling, which is an essential element of the life of almost any active city dweller, is constantly evolving in terms of efficiency, rapidity, safety, and affordability. And contactless payments are believed to be one of the tools that could be exploited to leap closer towards an ideal public transportation solution.

More than 60 percent of transactions will be effectuated through contactless payment methods by 2020. One of the main technological mediums powering such transactions would be Near Field Communication, commonly known as NFC. NFC is already widely used within the realms of mobile payment – the rising star of contactless transactions. However, it is also present in the smart cards that are increasingly utilised for identification, access or loyalty, and of course, payment. It is undeniable that the financial and commercial aspects of the transportation business would benefit tremendously from the development in question. Therefore, it is understandable that transport operators from all around the world are joining the global endeavour towards implementing contactless technologies in their respective ecosystems.

Infineon is one of the pioneers of the contactless technologies that are to enter the world of transportation in the near future. Based in Neubiberg, Germany, the company has been working on a prime selection of chip solutions. Their products have multiple applications encompassing form factors like smart cards, smartphones, and smartwatches. The company advances that their chips allow data to be transferred in just a few milliseconds, and that, coming with fees way below normal industry rates. Another aspect that Infineon values is security. They have worked hard on coming up with security devices which would that ensure data transmission is not only efficient but safe as well.

Smart cards will play a capital role in transportation

Amongst the several contactless data transfer mediums are contactless smart cards. Those devices generally comprise integrated circuits allowing them to store and sometimes process data. The said data is then communicated through radio waves.

Applications of smart cards vary. The first time they were implemented traces back to a Seoul of 1996, whereby the contactless data transfer technology was used for electronic ticketing. Since then, several iterations of the concept have popped across mass transit systems all around the world, slowly becoming the norm amongst the residents of advanced urbanised agglomerations.

More recently, institutions like Visa and MasterCard have started issuing smart cards to their customers, allowing purchases to be made in a contactless fashion at Point Of Sales systems.

The implementation of smart cards succeeded in London

London has seen one of the most successful smart card implementations witnessed by the recent years in the field of transportation. The city, which is known for its peerless transit facilities, has first started issuing the famous ‘Oyster Cards’ back in 2012. Those are actually prepaid cards that allow their owners to travel by bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line, River Bus services and most National Rail services in London. Starting with only buses as a revolutionary pay-as-you-go kind of card, the Oyster card has now reached quite a remarkable state of versatility.

To make transportation even easier through contactless technologies, TfL – Transport for London – has also implemented the use of actual credit and debit cards for tube travellers. That would imply that fares would be addressed directly to a customer’s bank instead of being deducted from the pre-paid solution that is the Oyster card. TfL thinks that this will make transit easier for millions of commuters, especially given that the hassle of toping up every time will be eliminated. “Accepting contactless payments on transport in London is a fantastic achievement for our city – it provides our customers with the most convenient way to pay for their travel and highlights the capital’s position as a world leader in transport ticketing, technology and customer service,” commented Shashi Verma, TfL’s director of customer experience.

Infineon was present at the Global Public Transport Summit

Infineon, following the tracks of the technology that is benefitting London, has also been working hard on furthering the future of contactless payments implemented for public transportation. In may of 2017, is took part in the UITP Global Public Transport Summit, an event held in Montreal, Canada. There, it has presented its latest innovations from the Infineon. The German company wants to “go beyond the evident bus and train services in order to include more flexible systems such as car-sharing and bike rental.” Eventually, similar mindsets will one day allow everyone to enjoy seamless travelling experiences, a big part of which will be the use of contactless technologies.

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