Pierre-Alois Welsch a graduate of the Technology University of Compiègne and HEC Business School in Paris. Pierre-Alois has over 15 years’ experience in the field of smart card technologies and joined Linxens in 2008. His role as Senior Product Marketing Manager for the Transport sector includes market intelligence, product road-mapping, marketing strategy and business development.
Key market trends in public transport and smart travel cards
Modern, efficient public transportation networks play a crucial role in the well-oiled functioning of urban infrastructures. In cities around the world, these infrastructures are faced with the two closely linked challenges of population growth and climate change. Pierre-Alois Welsch, Linxens’ Senior Product Marketing Manager for the Transport sector, shares his analysis on these trends and how the latest developments in smart payment solutions can help to address them.
Major trends for the public transport sector
The two long-term trends affecting the public transport sector are concerns on global climate change and population growth in large cities. These two factors combined are responsible for high levels of air pollution, road traffic accidents and traffic congestion. Over 80% of urban populations are exposed to levels of air-pollution that exceed the World Health Organization’s limits, while according to the United Nations, urban residents will grow by an additional 2.5 billion by 2050, to reach more than 6.5 billion people.
Well-managed public transportation infrastructures are the key to helping cities reduce pollution, traffic jams and parking problems. By offering solutions for smart ticketing, we are helping authorities to make public transport the best option for people instead of using their own vehicles.
Encouraging the use of public transport and Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
To encourage passengers to use public transport and think about Mobility as a Service, we need to offer passengers smoother, more convenient, stress-free journeys. Improving the ease of transactions and authentication leads to faster passenger flow and reduces bottlenecks at points of entry, transition and exit throughout the transport network. For this we need fast, secure, reliable, contactless transactions. This needs to be a one-fits-all ticketing scheme that functions across all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, metros and even bicycle hire. In the longer term, we could see this spread to travel cards that can be used in multiple cities, as outlined in the European Commission’s White Paper ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area’. This national, or international, multimodal feature is particularly useful for business and leisure travelers., Nationwide public transport schemes are already successfully operating in some countries, such as with the Dutch Trans Links System, the Swiss Travel Pass and the Korea Smart Card.
The potential for Mobility as a Service cards is vast. Besides having one card that you can use for all public transport networks, you will be able to use the same card for a wider range of travel needs - from car-sharing to hotel reservations and visitor attractions. Travelers benefit from a cashless, seamless, destination-focused experience, while suppliers gain market intelligence that enables them upsell services and increase their market reach. They can even offer value-added bundles of services.
Payment and access solutions to streamline the customer journey
We have also observed that ticketing systems are evolving from traditional, very expensive magnetic systems to RFID, payment and access solutions that accelerate passenger flow and simplify the customer journey. Linxens is the leader in developing and manufacturing inlays for contactless smart cards. These inlays contain secure microprocessor chips that enable contactless communications with the reader at the transport access gate. Our customers in the transport segment make cards and tickets for transport networks all over the world. Linxens offers both open-standard solutions such as Calypso and proprietary solutions such a MIFARE-DESfire. We also have solutions for typical closed loop contactless cards as well for dual -interface open loop payment cards. In addition, we develop solutions for other types of media such as tokens, micro-cards or key fobs.
Linxens is currently trialing UHF/HF dual-frequency smart cards in some cities, including Singapore. The longer-range transmission capabilities of UHF brings passengers much greater convenience with a hands-free, Be-In-Be-Out (BIBO) travel experience. This cuts down bottlenecks at transit and entry points, with the ability to process up to 100 passengers per minute through one gate. This is more than the twice the number of passengers per minute possible using a traditional Check-in-Check-Out (CICO) system. BIBO eases the journey considerably for disabled passengers, those travelling with young children and those who are carrying bags, as they do not even need to take their wallet or purse out of their bags – they can literally just walk straight through the gate. Finally, more than ever, with the hygiene concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, hand-free access solutions are becoming a must-have for travelers.
Another innovation under development is display cards that will show how much money you have left stored in your travel card.
Pollution is a growing concern around the world and the demand for more sustainable, eco-friendly solutions is accelerating. In response, we are continually investing in research and development. One example is our EcoLAM range of solutions. EcoLAM innovations are pioneering best practices to make smartcards more sustainable, including reducing the use of virgin PVC plastics. The EcoLAM range of material included recycled PET-G - a 100% PVC-free solution with the highest level of recycled plastic content in the market. Our EcoLAM solutions for contactless transport cards provide best-in-class environmental performance. In parallel, we are bringing paper inlays to market, which use paper from responsibly managed, FSC-certified forests. By replacing the plastic layer with paper-based inlays, we help ticket manufacturers to improve their sustainable credentials.
Linxens offers a range of technologies and products tailored to customer’s exact requirements and, as we are a one-stop-shop, card makers can come to us for a complete solution.