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Interview Spotlight: Cees de Wijs
Publication date: 17 February 2012
Author: Craig Waters, Editor, Eurotransport
Craig Waters, Eurotransport Editor, speaks exclusively to Cees de Wijs, Group President of International Transportation and Local Government Group, ACS.
As the largest provider of transportation services to governments worldwide, with projects over in 35 countries, ACS, a Xerox Company, is focused on making the transportation experience simple by improving the customer and commuter experience with innovative mobility solutions.
“We see an extremely important trend towards satisfying the need for more seamless passenger services ensuring that there is an intermodal travel experience from a passenger perspective,” explains Cees. “We also see things from a transport operator perspective where there is an extreme pressure, even in today’s economic environment, to become more inventive in allocating investments for new infrastructure whilst at the same time driving down the operation costs.”
ACS addresses these market trends through a portfolio of solutions. For example, some major solutions that help optimising productivity and efficiency are automated fare collection and vehicle location and fleet management. “We are offering automated fare collection solutions to transit operators in many cities like Toulouse, Berlin, Milan and Zurich and we have also been delivering ticketing solutions for rail in the Netherlands, Norway, France, Austria and Switzerland. Moreover we provide automatic vehicle location and fleet management solutions which include a wealth of dynamic information needed to ensure that passengers experience fast, safe and reliable public transit,” said Cees.
“We are currently rolling out an automated fare collection system for Abu Dhabi – a city with a vision to optimise the travel experience by improving the quality of service of the public transport network.
“Our project in Zurich, an interoperable and integrated ticketing service for all transport modes across eight transport operators, is still on going,” explains Cees. “And in Toulouse we are currently investigating how, on top of the existing automated fare collection system, we can move towards the open payment trends that we helped pioneer in successful pilots in the USA.
“I highlight this open payment trend as ACS is one of the market leaders in the US where we are witnessing a lot of the open card payment initiatives. We were part of a very important pilot project in New York testing an open payment credit card based solution and we do trust that this is the future for many cities.”
ACS has been recently selected by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) to implement one of the first open fare payment systems in the US. SEPTA will be one of the first in the country to offer riders the ability to travel and digitally pay their fare with a quick tap or wave of their ‘contactless’ credit or debit card or even their smartphone.
“We expect to also see Europe move towards uniform seamless and open payment facilities in the coming years.”
Behind the scenes, ACS is actively engaged in European initiatives to standardise services and together with ERTICO, ACS has provided proposals to the European Commission to start developments on an integrated platform that may be applied across Europe for pan-European reservation, information and payment services. ACS transportation and Xerox experts from the Xerox Research Centre in Grenoble, France, frequently work in collaboration with their clients to solve current mobility challenges and to shape and create the future of transportation today.
ACS also continues to recognise the importance of presenting their products and solutions at industry trade shows. “We attend exhibitions such as Intertraffic, ITS World Congress and of course this year’s InnoTrans in Germany,” comments Cees.
Cees explains that the future vision of ACS in the public transport marketplace can be summarised around three major pillars. “First of all we believe that we will see an increased trend around ‘converging infrastructures’. Telecoms, banking, transport and energy will start to interconnect. The second visionary pillar is what we call ‘embedded intelligence’. Improving the seamless travel aspect is all about ensuring that embedded intelligence starts to really interconnect vehicles, passengers and superior back-end systems for reservation, payment and customer service. The operators thereby reduce their cost of operations. The third pillar is ‘smart simplicity’. The passenger shall enjoy a seamless end-to-end mobility experience. Access to and the use of reservation, information and payment services will be made simple and comprehensive. The underlying technology and complexity will be made fully transparent for the passenger.”
With these three fundamental visions of the future, it is clear to see that ACS is taking a strong hold on the public transport marketplace. “We do trust that even in today’s European economic climate, where there is a lot of pressure and a lack of funding and investment, ACS has the ability to open up large scale solutions and business models and also get our fair share of driving long-term efficient operations.”
For more information visit: www.acs-inc.com
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