Industry Overview

Until recently, contactless smart cards were the main focus of innovation within transport ticketing.

The expansion in NFC-enabled smartphones has made the provision of mobile ticketing possible – the ability to securely load virtual smart cards onto smartphones for consumer use in the public transport industry.

Moving transport ticketing to smartphones increases convenience for the end user, as they are no longer required to carry a separate token. There are also further benefits regarding the provision of real-time transport information, data capture, and the rapid development and deployment of new value-added services.

However, this has disrupted the industry significantly. Ownership of the device that traditionally interacted with ticketing infrastructure has moved from scheme operators, who procured and distributed the contactless smart cards, to the end-users themselves. Further complexity comes from the many different models of NFC-enabled smartphones that consumers may use for their smart ticketing needs.

These developments have impacted the testing of transport ticketing products – it has become more complex as more actors, such as device manufacturers and mobile network operators (MNOs) are involved in the ecosystem. To achieve interoperable, user-friendly and reliable interaction between smartphones and ticketing infrastructure there is a need for close collaboration between the transport ticketing industry and device manufacturers, who must work together to ensure that smart ticketing can be provided safely, securely, and at the convenience of consumers.

There are further challenges to overcome. How do public transport operators provide secure and convenient mobile ticketing services that allow smartphones to communicate with existing ticketing infrastructure? How do we ensure that these services allow for the rapid evolution of smartphone technology, as transport ticketing hardware is often expected to last for 10-15 years? And, how do we enable interoperability between regional transport ticketing specifications such as ITSO, Calypso and VdV?

GlobalPlatform Technology

GlobalPlatform, the Smart Ticketing Alliance and the GSMA have published a technical document titled ‘GlobalPlatform System E2E Simplified Service Management Framework Transport’, which details the service management process to deliver transport ticketing securely on mobile devices. It brings the transport ticketing and mobile communities together to ensure interoperable mobile ticketing is brought to market efficiently and securely using an agreed framework.

The framework streamlines the management of contactless services by outlining how GlobalPlatform Secure Element and Messaging Specifications can be used to deliver transport ticketing services on mobile devices. It is used by public transport operators and system integrators to build the required ecosystem with MNOs, secure element vendors and mobile device manufacturers. The framework specifies:

  • The workflows between the involved parties, to ensure a seamless end-to-end user experience.
  • The overall architecture to provide clarity in the data flow and implementation.
  • The configurations that should be used to ensure interoperability across various interfaces and devices.

Industry Partner Comments

“GlobalPlatform’s Specifications provide the architecture to effectively deliver innovative and convenient mobile ticketing services, without compromising security or privacy. Prior to the publication of the E2E Framework fragmentation was widespread – different implementation and management models were created for different devices by different operators in different cities and regions. This level of industry collaboration streamlines the deployment process and facilitates interoperability by outlining a basic infrastructure model that is proven and ready to implement.”

- Mike Eastham, Chief Advisor - Technology at ITSO Limited and member of the Smart Ticketing Alliance
Mike Eastham, Chief Advisor - Technology at ITSO Limited and member of the Smart Ticketing Alliance

GlobalPlatform System E2E Simplified Service Management Framework Transport v1.0.1


GlobalPlatform Card Specification v2.3.1


CEN/TS 16794-1:2017 Public transport - Communication between contactless readers and fare media - Part 1: Implementation requirements for ISO/IEC 14443


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