Transport ticketing alliance debuts ‘Cipurse’ open alternative to Mifare

The Open Standard for Public Transport (OSPT) Alliance is proposing a new open ticketing standard to be called Cipurse that will “enable technology suppliers to develop and deliver interoperable transit fare collection solutions for cards, stickers, fobs, NFC mobile phones and other consumer devices.” Singapore’s Land Transport Authority is the first to agree to adopt the new standard.

OSPT Alliance
OSPT: Proposing open ticketing standard

Six companies involved in the move to NFC-based transit ticketing have come together to create the Open Standard for Public Transport (OSPT) Alliance with the aim of creating next-generation open transit fare collection solutions.

The idea was first put forward in February 2010 by Infineon, Giesecke & Devrient, Oberthur Technologies and Inside Secure and the four founders have now been joined by Watchdata and the Open Ticketing Institute of the Netherlands, a group formed by Trans Link Systems (TLS) and partners with the aim of creating interoperable e-ticketing systems.

The OSPT Alliance is currently developing the initial version of an open security standard as well as documentation and reference implementations to enable technology suppliers to develop and deliver interoperable transit fare collection solutions for cards, stickers, fobs, NFC mobile phones and other consumer devices, as well as infrastructure components.

“Unlike systems based on proprietary technologies that limit choices, are potentially less secure and cost more to acquire, deploy and maintain, products that conform to this standard will include the most advanced security technologies, help ensure compatibility with legacy systems, and be available in a variety of form factors,” say the members of the alliance.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has already put its weight behind the project, saying it will adopt the new Cipurse solution once it becomes available.

“We are always keeping abreast of the latest security standards for our fare collection system, and have adopted open standards for all of our transit applications,” says Silvester Prakasam, director of LTA’s fare system. “Now, we are looking to future-proof our fare collection infrastructure by ensuring it is interoperable with NFC mobile devices as they start to be deployed commercially. Cipurse is an important step towards establishing standardized, secure and interoperable fare collection for all public transport schemes, and we plan to adopt it for future releases of Cepas.”

The alliance now plans to establish an ecosystem of transit operators, technology suppliers, consultants and integrators, government agencies, and mobile ecosystem product and service providers, as well as other industry associations, to develop new transit fare collection solutions based on open standard security. The alliance has also approached the Calypso Networks Association (CNA) with the aim of creating a common working group.

“The OSPT Alliance ecosystem will be a key component for advancing the open security standard for transit fare collection,” the members explain. “The ecosystem will offer transit operators the opportunity to choose from among a number of vendors, consultants and integrators to help them deploy or upgrade to a more secure and cost-effective transit fare collection system. Likewise, it will provide mobile device manufacturers with next-generation open standard solutions.”

“Government agencies that need to evaluate bids for new or upgraded transit payment systems will have access to a much broader array of solution vendors and partners delivering a wider range of innovative, flexible and secure transit fare collection solutions,” they continue. “The OSPT Alliance ecosystem will benefit transit system consultants and integrators by bringing together a greater assortment of vendors offering more product choices and richer capabilities than available with proprietary systems. For mobile device manufacturers, the open security standard will be the next ‘must-have’ checklist item they include in all next-generation NFC implementations.”

“For a system integrator, the OSPT Alliance holds the promise of providing greater product choices with richer capabilities than is currently available with proprietary systems,” says Pradip Mistry, vice president of engineering at Cubic Transportation Systems. “This will enable us to recommend and design solutions that generate higher customer satisfaction. Interoperability with NFC devices is a critical element for transit fare collection systems because it means simpler development with faster time to deployment, and the flexibility to adapt to any payment scheme or application. We are thrilled that the OSPT Alliance is offering an open standard security solution.”

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