Speakers: Amy Linden (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), Mark F. Muriello (PANYNJ), and Jack Opiola (D'Artagnan Consulting LLC)
Moderator: Bruce Schaller (New York Department of Transportation)Presented by the Greening Transportation & Infrastructure Discussion Group
Posted July 6, 2011
Over the past two decades, E-ZPass and Metrocard have changed the way New Yorkers travel in and through the city. Transportation agencies are now developing and piloting the next generation payment systems with cashless tolls and contact-less fare cards. This symposium Fare and Toll Payment Technologies' Potential Benefits for Sustainability and Society, held on April 26, 2011, at the New York Academy of Sciences, explored the implications of developments in how we price and pay for transportation. The potential for improved customer convenience, enhanced customer information, smarter and more responsive system operations, integration across transportation providers, and incentives for peak and off-peak travel can create opportunities for better meeting the city's travel needs and for achieving sustainability goals.
By the end of 2017, the Metrocard will join the token as a relic of New York City's transportation payment system. Amy Linden identified contactless payment technology as the future of public transport fare payment. Patrons of the subway and bus systems may have noticed or participated in the pilot program that allowed transit riders to pay by tapping their credit cards on a designated reader. Linden pointed out that the new, 'open' system would have the additional benefit of being easily adaptable and configurable as technology improves, this 'future proofing', means that the MTA will not have to purchase new systems whenever a new advancement in technology is made.
Mark Muriello from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey provided an overview of the EZ-Pass toll collection system and described its successes. Eliminating payment by cash and moving to post-paid systems enhance the current gains of electronic tolling while creating new opportunities and new challenges. For the consumer, privacy is the main concern. The proposed systems require the acquisition of user data—by, for example, associating a signal emitted by a particular vehicle with the vehicle's owner and subsequently to the owner's credit card. The service provider in turn will have to deal with the challenges that are likely to arise with enforcement and information leakage. The result of these new payment systems, according to Muriello, will likely involve the creation of new institutional linkages, business models that focus on value-addition, and the integration of paying for road-use into other related systems such as personal banking, insurance, and auto manufacturing.
Jack Opiola of D'Artagnan Consulting LLC expounded on the open system architecture that will be central to both public transportation and road-toll payment technologies in the future. Opiola explained that we are moving in the direction of a more holistic travel system that emphasizes customer choice. He argued that the open system should be mediated by a commercial entity, rather than by a government agency. The commercial entity would interface with users and the service providers—those who will provide the modes of payment. A scenario where commercial entities take the lead would require mechanisms for consumer protection such as a way of certifying service providers based on their adherence to a certain set of standards. On the other hand, such a system would allow for innovation in the marketplace. Opiola provided international, best practice case studies that demonstrated the opportunities presented by new technologies and their application.
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