Mar 17, 2023

Mobility Reimagined: Overcoming the Four Greatest MaaS Ticketing Challenges

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) changes how we think about public transport services. It solves the current fragmentation between different services and encourages transport operators to deliver a complete ‘mobility experience’, from the moment you leave your home until you reach your final destination.

As MaaS is about the entire traveller experience, it includes retail services to allow travellers to seamlessly make purchases, such as refreshments.  

It is easy to visualise the physical journey MaaS enables. Providing the infrastructure to pay for the different services seamlessly and conveniently, however, is more challenging. Every transport operator or authority wants to ‘own’ the relationship with their customer, and aligning business partnerships to deliver such services can be complex, time consuming and costly.

MaaS Ticketing Considerations

Ticketing implementors have many factors influencing their decision-making.

  1. Security. How do you confirm that the customer has a valid ticket to travel without adding time, effort and friction to the journey? Security also needs to be scalable, as the needs of each transport operator or retail provider varies.
  2. Traveller familiarity and convenience. The ticketing system must be an intuitive and user friendly experience for the traveller. Completing paperwork, signing up to new services, or introducing complex systems that require customer education could severely inhibit uptake. MaaS ticketing also needs to offer travellers the best ticketing options at the best price.
  3. Usability and reliability. Transport hubs are chaotic at peak times. Logistical design plays a key role in ensuring successful throughput at stations. MaaS ticketing needs to be quick, authenticate travellers at speed, and be useable even if a smartphone battery is dead or there is no connectivity. It must work effectively for every transport mode and have a proven ability to underpin a range of mobility systems.
  4. Cost-effective and sustainable. MaaS is a long-term movement. It is the future of mass transport usage and the best way to entice travellers away from personal car usage. Systems must have the capabilities and vision to sustainably evolve and meet unknown future market needs.

Is NFC Technology the Answer?  

While there is rarely a single solution to any technology need, NFC technology is unparalleled in its ability to support the needs of MaaS ticketing implementors.

  1. NFC authentication capabilities are reliable and renowned, and security can be managed and uniquely scaled to the needs of different service requirements.
  2. Travellers are confident and familiar with NFC across many markets and demographics. The user experience is known to be seamless, ergonomic and familiar.
  3. The usability and reliability of NFC technology and systems are well established, trusted and already proven within a vast range of mobility environments. NFC technology can still validate a traveller when there is no connectivity.
  4. Vitally, NFC technology is continually adapting to new requirements and can support use cases beyond smartphones. Implementors can also keep costs under control by leveraging existing NFC capabilities and systems.

How Does the Technology Work?

Using NFC tags and technology addresses the fundamental concepts to deliver MaaS ticketing and retailer services today. And in the future

When a traveller touches an NFC tag with a smartphone, the data written on the tag is converted into a one-time token (with a randomly encrypted code) and sent to the operators’ or retailers’ servers to verify the authenticity of the NFC tag. Once complete, the traveller is directed to the appropriate website or app and follows the instructions to pay using their preferred financial account.

An NFC-enabled ticket would then be issued to use for the service, or vouchers issued to purchased refreshments. Travellers are able to move quickly and efficiently move through the transport network.

Want to Learn More?

The NFC Forum has published a free access white paper that details different NFC use cases and how they should be implemented. Authored by leading providers of transport ticketing technology, the paper is ideal for those considering, managing and advancing MaaS ticketing services.  Download today.

Interested in understanding the wider role of NFC in transport ticketing? Read The Future of Mobility – Driven by NFC.

Have a use case to add or want more detail? Connect with the NFC Forum team.