Using e-ticketing data in transport planning

19 August 2016  •  Author(s): Peter Mott, Solution Director Public Transport, PTV Group

For Eurotransport Peter Mott, Solution Director Public Transport at PTV Group, explains how data from electronic fare collection systems can be imported offline into a planning system for further processing and focuses on the example of the SmarTrip® Card in Washington DC.

Using e-ticketing data in transport planning


Electronic fare collection systems are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the international context. Both the possibility of more flexible and reasonable fares and support with planning make electronic fare collection very attractive. These tickets and fares can be considered reasonable as the rate is calculated on the basis of the route actually travelled and they are more flexible because it is easy to define fares based on the time of day and travel demand. 

There are basically two scenarios that need to be taken into consideration when analysing the resulting data for planning purposes:

  • Check-in (Ci) only
  • Check-in, Check-out (CiCo) or Be-in, Be-out (BiBo) or Check-in, Be-out (CiBo).

Check-in systems with a standard fare are used, for example, in Turkey, the USA and Asia, whereas many metro systems in Europe, the Americas and Asia opt for Check-in, Check-out systems with differentiated fare levels.


With simple Ci data on the spatial and temporal distribution of boarding and (where appropriate) transferring passengers is generated, depending on whether the electronic ticket is presented on entering the station or boarding the vehicle.

In the case of CiCo data at the start and end of a journey accumulates from the origin to the destination or even for each path
leg, depending on whether the ticket is presented on entering or leaving the station or boarding and alighting the vehicle. Through the vehicle reference, all journey sections and interim transfers, including dwell times, will be recorded individually.

For BiBo ticket data is created in the vehicle at all sections of each line on the leg of the journey from stop-to-stop so that the same information is ultimately available as for vehicle-based CiCo.

For CiCo the data records usually include the following information: Identification of the ticket; date and time of the Ci and Co; and place (station or stop) of the Ci and Co.

BiBo and CiBo data can be compared with the vehicle-based, i.e. line and stop-based case of the CiCo data. BiBo systems therefore provide detailed information when it comes to analysing complex systems, including numerous connection options and a large number of passengers transferring at central stations.

Various data formats are created depending on the method used for collecting electronic ticket data:

  • A single record per journey for the station-based CiCo, for example, in metro systems
  • A single record per path-leg for vehicle-based collection, i.e. for full CiCo or BiBo.

In practice, a transport area often uses hybrid forms of different methods.

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