Seamless Transport Ticketing for Smarter Cities

How migration from proprietary systems and the increasing prominence of open standards are making commuters’ lives easier.

The world’s cities are growing at a phenomenal rate. It is estimated that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population—a staggering 6.419 billion—will be living in urban areas. With this rise come two main developments. One, city services such as the transport network must be capable of serving greater numbers of passengers quickly, effectively, and securely every day. Two, with growing urban populations comes greater connectivity. Combined, this amounts to an even greater demand for smarter, more seamless operations to ease the consumer’s day-to-day life, facilitated by advances in technology.

Figure 1: Arguably the smart city’s nervous system, its transportation network is stepping up with the help of open standards to meet the needs of more and more travelers quickly, effectively, and securely every day.

Cities are getting bigger, more connected and crucially, smarter.

South America is one region currently experiencing such rapid urban development. In an attempt to deliver a more frictionless service to its rising number of smart city travellers, the transport ticketing ecosystem in the country is in the process of upgrading and restructuring.

Legacy and Other Obstacles
Despite a sincere desire to support innovation and deliver superior experiences for passengers, transportation agencies have had to overcome significant legacy obstacles to deliver any considerable advances. Throughout the market, in South America and beyond, operators are bound to customized proprietary fare collection systems from a single-source supplier.

As a result, accommodating new technologies and the costs to upgrade systems are dictated at the pace and the price of the incumbent vendor. The dominance of proprietary systems in the transport ticketing market, and the lack of ownership of the ticketing specifications by the transportation agencies is, undoubtedly, the central factor hindering innovation.

Standardization, as it has done across industries such as IT and telecoms, can have a transformative power. In transport ticketing, it can level the playing field and be the key to driving effective, sustained innovation. One example of a non-proprietary standard is CIPURSE™, which is developed and managed by OSPT Alliance, a member-driven industry association. CIPURSE is fully configurable and adaptable to the requirements and innovations of the transit ticketing community.

Operators with infrastructures built on proprietary systems must wrestle with costly, complex upgrades to their systems when accommodating each emerging payment form factor and/or security scheme. Standardization simplifies these complexities.

Built on the international smart card command (ISO 7816) and interface (ISO 14443) standards in conjunction with AES security (FIPS 197, ISO/IEC 18033-3), CIPURSE supports each fare media device with the same security protocols. This means there is no need to upgrade CIPURSE compatible readers and terminals when incorporating new ticketing formats—whether that’s adding in mobile ticketing acceptance or accommodating wearables, CIPURSE also offers the interoperability and scalability to simplify this process into adjacent markets and services.

Raising the Game
With open standards, technology benefits from increased innovation, too. Working collaboratively, OSPT Alliance’s member organizations share a vested interest in sustaining and advancing standards. Operators have the freedom to select the best vendors and business models for their solutions, which in turn offer new players a greater opportunity to showcase their offering, promoting healthy competition in the industry.

Let’s take a closer look at how CIPURSE is driving projects forward in South America.

Mitigating Fraud and Errors
The mature and secure CIPURSE standard offers an answer to mitigating losses due to fraud, system errors and cash handling. In addition, with some big cities in Brazil, for example, passengers may need up to three cards for travel. CIPURSE’s interoperability enables all three cards to be combined into one. The benefits for the consumer are obvious, but this saves the operators a number of logistical headaches and costs, too.

However, hesitancy persists surrounding the supposed high costs and complications of replacing proprietary systems. Experience has now shown this ‘rip and replace’ overhaul is a myth, and one that Brazil-based OSPT Alliance member Planeta Informática is keen to dispel.

Planeta Informática’s mission is to support transport players across the continent to begin the process of migration from proprietary solutions to the benefits of open standards, offering ‘off the shelf’ CIPURSE solutions and consultancy support to system integrators and transport operators.

As neither the ticket data nor the back-office system must change to enable CIPURSE deployment, upgrade costs are minimal. A small secure application module, or SAM, simply needs to be integrated into the gates and validators of the system to add recognition of CIPURSE into existing systems.

Planeta Informática has been an industry-leading SAM provider for the last 10 years, with more than 200,000 SAM devices currently deployed, supporting 30 million users per day across South America. Utilizing virtualization technology, its latest SAM device enables the simple integration of CIPURSE into existing systems without having to change the current application software, validator software, or host system. Plus, as CIPURSE can operate alongside legacy solutions, a phased, cost-effective approach to card replacement can be taken, as existing cards can continue to be used.

Minus Pain, Risks, Costs
It’s with this simple approach that Planeta Informática has launched what’s set to be the largest scale CIPURSE deployment project to date in Cuenca, Ecuador. With the deployment now complete, it is expected that a full migration to CIPURSE card usage will be in place before the end of 2018. By then, the project will see over half a million CIPURSE-based contactless cards introduced without the pain, risk or costs of upgrading to a proprietary solution.

Open standards enable flexibility to scale up operations simply and cost-effectively. And with interoperability across all sections of the ecosystem, services are safeguarded for the future. Looking longer term, this simple upgrade to the system enables operators to remain flexible when looking to integrate mobile ticketing or account-based ticketing solutions, for example.

Now in operation on more than 500 buses and across 300 terminals, with minimal disruption to passengers and safeguarded investment in legacy hardware, Cuenca is already beginning to reap the benefits of open standards whilst remaining fully open to future advancements.

Open, non-proprietary standards are changing the game. In short, enabling more secure, cost-effective, scalable, and extensible transit fare collection systems that benefit both the transport stakeholders and the end traveller.

Who is OSPT Alliance?
The OSPT Alliance is an international association chartered to provide the standard for secure transit ticketing solutions and beyond. It provides industry education, creates workgroup opportunities, and catalyzes the development and adoption of innovative fare collection technologies, applications and services. OSPT Alliance membership is open to technology providers, transit operators, consultants, solution vendors, government agencies, reader and terminal manufacturers, system integrators and other stakeholders in the contactless ecosystem.

Through the work of its members, the Alliance aims to promote CIPURSE implementation worldwide. For additional information, please visit

Philippe Martineau is President of the OSPT Alliance Board. He is a seasoned international executive who has worked most of his career in the extended Mobile eco-system. His career started with the emergence of the mobile technology in the early ’90s where he contributed to GSM standardization, bringing the SIM technology to market. Doing so, he has developed a strong knowledge of the operators’ ecosystem through 17 years at Gemplus with roles ranging from R&D engineering, head of the Telecom business unit to VP of Strategy.

He has since contributed to bringing innovative technologies to market such as NFC as Executive Vice President of INSIDE secure NFC Business line. Having worked for both startups and larger enterprise, he has developed an acute sense of business acumen to combine technology understanding with pragmatic go to market strategies. Martineau is now Senior Director of eco-system Business development in the CTO office of Rambus where his role consists in bridging Rambus core technology with the mobile world. He has also recently been appointed Chairman of the OSPT Alliance with the intent to drive a greater momentum in

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