The National Academies

TCRP A-25 [Completed]

Fare Policies, Structures and Technologies (Update)

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: Multisystems, Inc.
Effective Date: 7/1/2001
Completion Date: 3/1/2003

TCRP Report 94: Fare Policies, Structures, and Technologies (Update) identifies, describes, and evaluates key fare structures, policies, and technologies that are being considered by transit agencies, with a focus on their impact on customers, operations management, and effective and equitable fare integration. The report includes data on fare structures, policy-making procedures, and ongoing efforts to implement fare technology.

This report provides guidance on making decisions related to fare policies, structures, and technologies. It includes practical information that can be readily used by transit professionals and policy makers in fare-related planning and decision making.
This report updates information presented in TCRP Reports 10 and 32, and presents the latest developments and research results related to fare policy and technology issues.

Every transit agency must periodically address fare policy, structure, and technology issues. While each of these areas has been evaluated separately, it is important to understand the interrelationships among them. Policy generally guides the direction for fare structure, but technology changes can also affect structure decisions. Emerging electronic payment technologies, in particular, facilitate the consideration of new types of pricing strategies and payment options. TCRP Report 10, Fare Policies, Structures, and Technologies, published in 1995, explored developments and issues related to policies, structures, and technologies; it presented the experiences of transit agencies in selecting and using various approaches, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of emerging payment technologies. Subsequently, TCRP Report 32, Multipurpose Transit Payment Media,published in 1997, further examined the role of emerging technologies, with a focus on the use of smart cards in multipurpose payment programs. TCRP Report 32 included various institutional, financial, technological, legal and customer-related issues associated with linking a transit agency's payments with those of other transit agencies, nontransit modes (e.g., tolls, parking), and nontransportation entities (e.g., financial institutions, telecommunications companies, universities, and government agencies).

In the years since publication of TCRP Reports 10 and 32, there have been further advances in development and use of emerging technologies -- including both magnetic stripe and smart cards --and concomitant changes in fare policies and structures. A number of the innovative programs identified in those reports as being in the conceptual stage have now been implemented -- or terminated, in some cases -- and major new projects have been initiated. Important lessons are now available that will aid agencies considering the new technologies or pricing approaches.

This report provides updated information and guidance on the latest developments in the areas of fare policies, structures, and technologies.

Multisystems, Inc., in association with Mundle & Associates, Inc. and Simon & Simon Research and Associates, Inc., reviewed trends and developments of the past few years related to fare structure/policy design and technological advancements. The research team identified and described emerging types of fare-related initiatives and partnerships; defined evaluation criteria and measures; and evaluated each type of program or initiative in terms of its impact on the agency's customers and operations. The research also included thirteen case studies, covering a range of system sizes and modes and various types of fare structure and technology initiatives.

Status: The report has been published as TCRP Report 94: Fare Policies, Structures, and Technologies (Update).

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