The National Academies

TCRP A-14 [Completed]

Potential of Multipurpose Fare Media and Cashless Fare Collection

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: Multisystems, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Daniel M. Fleishman
Effective Date: 1/29/1996
Completion Date: 9/30/1997

The product of this research examines the potential for using multipurpose payment "smart cards" to purchase transit services from multiple operators, and, potentially, other goods and services. It examines smart card technology, legal and institutional issues associated with introducing multipurpose card programs, cost and revenue impacts, and customer attitudes. On the basis of experience around the world, guidelines are provided for development of multipurpose fare payment programs.

The objective of this research was to examine the potential of multipurpose media to link the payment of transit fares to other payment applications. The report provides information on more than 30 current and planned multipurpose transit fare projects around the world. Descriptive information includes the size of the trial program, the card supplier or system integrator, and the degree of fare integration. Thirteen stored-value/electronic purse programs from around the world, initiated by financial services companies and not involving transit at this time, are also described. The report examines issues of concern from the point of view of transit agencies and financial institutions, including a discussion of stored-value card technologies (i.e., "contactless," "contact," and "combi-cards"). The report provides transit and financial services professionals with an understanding of the costs and potential benefits, identifies issues that must be addressed in creating new alliances, and describes the steps that must be taken to develop and implement effective multipurpose programs.

The study findings are available in TCRP Report 32, "Multipurpose Transit Payment Media," and in TCRP Research Results Digest 16, "Multipurpose Fare Media: Developments and Issues." The Report and the RRD are also available in portable document format (PDF). Double-click on the files below to access them. (A free copy of Adobe Acrobat reader is available at https://www.adobe.com.)

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