Management & Operations

APTA, NFC Forum sign collaboration agreement

Posted on February 17, 2016


The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the NFC Forum announced a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will enable the two organizations to jointly educate the industry on Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies supporting the needs of public transportation operators.

NFC technology has a broad range of use cases. In public transport fare collection, NFC technology provides a wireless connection between mobile devices and wireless readers such as those seen in gated fare collection for public transportation systems. The adoption of NFC will enable a global public transportation environment in which passengers board with unprecedented speed and ease; fare collection and access are handled with accuracy; and the user experience is uniformly positive and consistent from country to country and transit system to transit system.

Related: SEPTA Fare Collection Gets 'Smart," Retires Tokens

The use of NFC for public transit ticketing is growing. Recently, New York State announced a plan to support NFC payments for the 11-million-user Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the UK Cards Assoc. unveiled a framework to implement contactless payments, including NFC, nationwide on all forms of public transit.

Through the MOU, APTA and the NFC Forum will work on joint programs, including training courses, white papers, case study analyses, merchant and transportation customer research, webcasts and hosted events or trade shows. APTA will work with the NFC Forum Transport Special Interest Group (SIG) to define approaches for utilization of NFC technology to address a range of needs, including supporting passenger information systems, ticketing and proof of payment fares.

APTA will also participate in global workshops led by the Transport SIG with leading standards organizations, including the GSM Assoc. (representing mobile operators), CEN/TC278 (the organization promoting Intelligent Transportation Systems), Smart Ticketing Alliance, and public transportation authorities for the purpose of gathering requirements and harmonizing work across the groups.

"NFC will improve the passenger experience by linking passengers with mobile phones and public transit fare payment, and by increasing the opportunities to share digital content to improve the transit passenger convenience," said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.

Public transportation is a key target market for the NFC Forum. The NFC Forum has been active in promoting the adoption of NFC technology in public transportation, most recently forming an alliance in 2015 with the GSM Assoc., Smart Ticketing Alliance and CEN/TC278 to bring about harmonization of specifications with regard to NFC technology for the public transport industry.

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