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Improving the Business Case for Smartcards through Data Analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Hannah Parker, Professor Phil BlytheORCiD


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The use of smartcards as a new media for ticketing for transport services is now becoming quite commonplace in many countries, including in parts of the UK. However for a technology that has been in effective use for almost two decades, the take up of such systems is probably not as widespread as one would expect when considering the benefits that smartcard-based systems seem to apparently offer. One well stated reason for this is that in many transport networks where the use of a smartcard ticketing system has been considered – the business case has not been fully made. One feature of public transport smartcard systems that could have an impact in improving the business case for smartcard investment and deployment is the more effective use of the data generated by the system. Vast amounts of card-operation and card-holder data are gathered during operation, however, in almost all cases, this it is not yet being utilised to its full potential. Each time a card is used the passenger behaviour, such as the boarding and alighting location and time, is recorded, either in the electronic ticket machine (ETM) and/or in the smartcard itself. This provides the possibility for a much more coherent and in-depth understanding of user demand. The purpose of this paper is to question whether it is possible to create a service that is responsive and relevant to user needs, using this additional knowledge of how customers use public transport (captured from smartcard data analysis). Thus, creating a service more centric upon meeting user demands could enhance the appeal of public transport, potentially resulting in increased rider-ship, and thus, creating a more positive business case for smartcard ticketing systems and associated infrastructure.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bryan HR, Blythe PT

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Unknown

Conference Name: Smart Moving

Year of Conference: 2007