Mike Eastham - Articles and news items
Smartcards provide a significant number of benefits both to the card holder and for the background processes involved. Fraud, in particular, is a threat that is significantly reduced as smartcards are almost impossible to copy, whilst cards that are lost or stolen can easily be identified and removed permanently from the system, the result of which is that they are of no use to anyone once they have been deactivated. Smartcards can significantly reduce boarding times, particularly when combined with card-readable Point of Service Terminals (POSTs), subsequently reducing driver workload, journey times and removing a potential monetary transaction element from travel.
Scheme Operators benefit from the wealth of information that is readily available to them. Fully smart ticketing schemes can provide more data on journeys taken with greater accuracy; this can assist in the reimbursement arrangements with operators to ensure that all payments can be fairly administered. Travel information can also be shared with operators to identify patterns of travel that can lead to improvements in vehicle deployment. For operating companies who in the past have spent large amounts on surveys to establish travel patterns for their services, this readily available information can reduce or even remove the need for such surveys and hence reduce annual operator expenditure.
ITSO was founded in 2001 following discussions started in 1998 between the Department for Transport, Public Transport Executives, Transport for London and other interested transport authorities with a desire to generate one interoperable specification for transport related activities. The ITSO specification has now been adopted across the UK and is set for expansion into Europe as operators realise the many advantages it offers.
It may not have hit the front pages of the daily newspapers, but both ISO, the International Organisation for Standardisation, and CEN, its European counterpart, voted unanimously to adopt the new standard ISO 24014-1: 2007 Public transport — Interoperable fare management system, Part 1: Architecture. This is the new standard that all countries have agreed to adopt when implementing Interoperable Fare Management (IFM) systems.
When looking back through previous ITSO articles in Eurotransport, I was struck by the number of times I have said “ITSO is coming”.The sentiment behind that was more a promise at that time, but now I can safely say “ITSO is coming” as a statement of fact. This article looks at some of the issues the ITSO journey has addressed and briefly gives an idea of progress.
Whilst not strictly an ITSO matter as ITSO does not run schemes, this is a pertinent question. Perhaps the answer lies in a simple question; What is it about smartcards that make them ideal for being part of local authority service delivery?