The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SA-46 [Final (Synthesis)]

Mobile Fare APPs Business Models
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/4/2018 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: University of Tennessee
Principal Investigator: Candace Brakewood
Effective Date: 9/28/2018
Completion Date: 4/29/2020
Fiscal Year: 2018

Final Scope

A mobile fare app is an application that public transit riders use to purchase and access public transportation services. As the number of transit agencies using mobile fare apps increase each year, different business models are being deployed, while costs vary significantly. A transit system that decides that they will include a mobile fare app in their fare payment offering needs to consider the different business models that are available.

The objective of this synthesis is to analyze the current business models that transit systems use for the services that they provide. The business models described should include:

·       Type of platform (software as a service, federated platform business services)

·        one-time costs

·        on-going costs

·       Single agency and multi-agencies

·       Single mode or multi-modes

·       Public private partnerships

·       Contract terms (merchant processing, revenue sharing vs. fixed fees, customer support, etc.)

·       Payment methods (credit card, debit card, retail partnerships, etc.)

·       Infrastructure options (onboard validators, flashpass, Be in/Be Out, etc.)

·       Business performance metrics (revenue share, number of downloads, number of ticket sales, number of accounts, etc.)

·       Time to market

·       Marketing, penetration and customer satisfaction


In addition, the synthesis should investigate:

·       Suite of products associated with the app ( fare evasion, web sales, traveler tools, etc.)

·       Equity and accessibility

·       Lessons learned

·       Program interface (API,SDKs, etc.) 

·       Road map for the future ( integration with mobility services, emerging technologies)


Information will be gathered by literature review that includes international sources, and a survey of geographically diverse, large, medium and small transit agencies operating multiple modes and currently utilizing a mobile fare app.   At least five case write-ups representing different business models will be developed.  The final report will document gaps in knowledge and research needs.    


Information Sources:

TCRP Synthesis 125 Multi Agency Electronic Fare Payment Systems

Final report mobile fare payment (Florida - Tickle)

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: September 28, 2018, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: October 23, 2018
Second Panel: June 21, 2019

Topic Panel 

Jamie Adelman, Sacramento Regional Transit District

Dwight A. Ferrell, METRO

Gerald Kane, SEPTA

Sharareh Kermanshachi, University of Texas - Arlington

Moyin Li, Pace Suburban Bus

Polly Okunieff, Go Systems and Solutions, LLC.

Jane Schroter, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Carl Woo, York Region Transit

Brian Jackson, Federal Transit Administration

Jeffrey Roux, Federal Transit Administration



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