The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the NFC Forum today announced a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will enable the two organisations 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.
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 Association 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 Association (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 technology has the power to transform public transport and the passenger experience," said Koichi Tagawa, NFC Forum Chairman. "NFC will not only streamline fare collection but also make transport operations more seamless, efficient, and responsive. We look forward to working with APTA to bring these benefits to operators and their passengers worldwide."
"APTA is pleased to partner with the NFC Forum to help integrate NFC technology into public transportation, "said APTA Chair Valarie J. McCall and board member of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. “It is through partnerships such as this one with the NFC Forum, that technological innovation is accelerated in our industry."
"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 Association, Smart Ticketing Alliance, and CEN/TC278 to bring about harmonization of specifications with regard to NFC technology for the public transport industry.