The Swedish Transport Agency deploys NFC devices for contactless services
Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (referred to as SL), the Stockholm Transport Agency, Sweden, uses HID Global’s Access-IS card reader with built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to launch a contactless payment system throughout Swedish cities.
The solution includes the ATR220-TripTick card reader recently developed by HID Global, which is installed at the entrance of the bus door and can be used to obtain payment from a smart phone with a built-in contactless NFC chip, Europay, Mastercard or Visa (EMV) SL green card data.
In 2019, SL deployed an Access-IS card reader for a mobile ticketing system based on a two-dimensional barcode for the first time. The solution requires passengers to download the SL application to create a digital wallet account that can be paid automatically and receive a scannable barcode when entering the train or bus system.
With the further development of the application, Access-IS has developed a new product that is not only compatible with barcodes, but also compatible with 13.56 MHz NFC tags that comply with the ISO 14443 standard, and non-contact EMV cards.
Cliff Hunter, head of transportation and ticket sales at Access-IS, said that the ATR220-TripTick reader was developed to provide transportation departments and cities with more functional options so that they can choose a variety of payments. In this way, simply start a system with a barcode, and then expand to EMV and NFC. The device includes an Ethernet (PoE) connection, which can be wirelessly connected to the server via Wi-Fi or GSM cellular networks, and can be used in conjunction with other Access-IS products. In addition, this set of devices supports mobile phones, tablets, wearable devices, contactless cards and paper receipts to read barcodes or unique ID numbers of NFC tags.
SL is responsible for all land public transportation systems in Stockholm city. This municipal company has been serving public transportation customers since it launched the tram in 1915. Today, nearly 800,000 people in Stockholm commute by local trains, buses and subways.
The NFC mobile payment system was launched in the city at the beginning of this year. And SL also released a green plastic card-SL Kort card, passengers can use EMV technology to buy season tickets and weekly tickets. As a prepaid account, this card can store up to two tickets so that multiple passengers such as parents and children can use it.
SL said that this project is unique. Stockholm is one of the first cities to provide contactless payment systems compatible with NFC, EMV and 2D barcodes. SL chose to deploy its own solutions, design its own software and integrate it into payment services. Hunter said, “Most cities will adopt third-party solution providers. But SL decided to build their own solutions.”
Stockholm deployed ATR220-TripTick card readers last year, covering 850 card readers or gates at the entrances of car doors, 200 ticket booths and 2,300 buses. To use the system, passengers first download the SL application from the App Store, and then create a digital wallet for payment.
SL stated that passengers can operate the system without opening an app. At the special gates of subways and trains, passengers only need to take out their mobile phones, wearable devices or tickets and touch them near the card reader symbol. In this way, they can avoid touching anything except their own equipment. The card reader captures the unique ID number associated with the passenger account and links this data to the payment operation. Then authorize the person to enter the platform. At the ticket booth, passengers can tap the device near the card reader to buy a green card on the touch screen.
Card readers are also installed on the buses that passengers take. The bus uses Access-IS VAL 100 ticket card verification equipment, with a built-in ATR220-TripTick card reader. Passengers only need to lean on the device, and then the system will verify the payment information and grant a personal account. Data is usually transmitted to the company’s cloud server via 4G modem or Wi-Fi after the bus returns to the parking lot.
Contactless payment has developed rapidly between cities, supporting both mobile application payments and bus cards. These solutions tend to use QR codes or NFC data transmission. Hunter said that it is more unique to be compatible with barcodes and NFC functions at the same time. Sweden, Norway, and Finland are among the first countries to use barcodes and smartphone apps to sell tickets. “Scandinavia is already quite advanced in this regard.”
After the deployment of the ATR220-TripTick equipment, cities or transportation agencies began to introduce systems that could evolve from a single payment function to a variety of function options. Hunter explained: “The advantage of this product is that they can deploy the device before they are ready to use contactless payments”-for example, using a simple barcode function. When the user is ready to use contactless payment, Access-IS can provide a software upgrade called “remote key injection” without having to personally visit the device to transfer the security key required for contactless payment. “This is a way to validate the system in the future.”
SL and Access-IS worked closely to build this solution. Access-IS expects that most deployments will be carried out with the help of third-party vendors. Hunter said: “This is a very good cooperation project, our next step will be to make the system a more comprehensive and immediately usable solution. Most cities need an easy-to-deploy solution.” This technology also It can expand from the transportation field to access management, festival activities and retail fields.
“Many cities are currently in the planning stages of deploying this technology. COVID-19 is a key driver. Because cities are looking for solutions that will allow passengers to quickly pass through the entrance without flocking, and without touching anything. Many countries are also encouraging individuals to give up cash, thereby reducing contact with pen and paper transactions and curbing the spread of infection.”
“Many cities that are doing this kind of planning are interested in phased deployment. They may not be ready to start rolling out contactless services, but they don’t want to replace the hardware in the future, so this is a good solution.”