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Center for Transportation Studies


Transit Fare Collection Technology: Current Status and Future Prospects

Part of the Advanced Transportation Technologies Seminar Series — Spring 2009. For more information, contact Shawn Haag, 612-625-5608 or

April 21, 2009

Speaker: Nigel Wilson, Professor, MIT

View Webinar Recording

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. CST, Room 1130, Mechanical Engineering Building

For many years transit systems have relied on specialized media for fare payment, ranging from tokens and paper tickets to magnetic stripe cards and now contactless smart cards. While all these fare payment technologies have some advantages, they all represent a barrier to casual use of transit and can be difficult for a first-time customer to understand and be comfortable with. They also impose a significant cost on the transit agency in terms of the full cost of fare collection.

In this seminar, the positive and negative attributes of current transit fare-collection technologies are discussed against the potential for transit to become more like other merchants in terms of fare payment technology. This seminar is based on ongoing collaborative research between MIT and both Transport for London and the Chicago Transit Authority.

Seminars also will be broadcast live on the Web and available for later viewing. A reminder will be sent prior to each seminar with details about the Webcast. See the webinar viewing instructions for more information.