This interview first appeared in the May 2016 Issue of the Open Standards Forum Magazine

Barcelona may only be Spain’s second largest urban area but, according to Juniper Research, it is the country’s smartest city. Smart is, for one, the new “T-Mobilitat” electronic fare collection system, designed to improve urban mobility.

The aim is to make getting around the city much easier for both the inhabitants and millions of tourists: The “T-Mobilitat” smart card will provide all-in-one access to the city’s transport network including Barcelona’s metro system, bus or any other transportation means. In addition, “T-Mobilitat” will also enable a user to rent a bicycle at the train station or pay at toll barriers on motorways.

The long-term plan is that Catalonia’s entire mobility will be powered by chip technology. The metropolitan transportation authority ATM (Autoritat del Transport Metropolità) will start switching the electronic ticketing system of the metropolitan region of Barcelona from magnetic stripe cards to chip-based tickets in 2016. In the second phase, the system will also be rolled out into the region of Catalonia. The “T-Mobilitat” ticket is issued as a transport app or an all-in-one ticket in the form of a smart card. Here user data is stored on the Infineon CIPURSE Security Controller. With this product, Infineon is the first certified supplier to ATM for the “T-Mobilitat” project.

The decision by the ATM in Barcelona marks another important milestone in the global launch of the new CIPURSE security standard of the OSPT Alliance. CIPURSE can work alongside exist- ing individual solutions, so there is the possibility of modernizing entire systems seamlessly and gradually. Another advantage is that the open security standard is also designed for mobile devices, such as NFC-enabled cellular phones or smart watches.

We met up with Infineon’s Thomas Rosteck, Vice President and General Manager of Infineon’s Secure Mobile & Transaction business, to get some insights on the project – which is one of the biggest transport ticketing projects worldwide.

What is so unique about Barcelona’s new electronic fare collection system?

For starters, it is a cashless system. With T-Mobilitat, travellers no longer have to search for cash at ticketing machines and they don’t need to carry different cards in their wallet. Also, the electronic ticket can be used many different ways, which is highly appealing to a younger demographic: contactless smart card, a mobile phone or wearables can be used to pay with T-Mobilitat.

Secondly, it is an all-in-one solution supporting everything from public buses through underground trains to private services such as bike sharing. It is even used for motorway and parking lot access.

What exactly is the scale of this project?

The metropolitan transportation authority ATM (Autoritat del Transport Metropolità) will start switching the existing electronic ticketing system from magnetic stripe cards to the chip- based T-Mobilitat system in 2016. As a first step, T-Mobilitat will be rolled out in the greater Barcelona region to service approximately 5 mil- lion inhabitants and more than 8 mil- lion tourists every year. In the second phase, the solution will be extended to the whole region of Catalonia.

ATM will issue T-Mobilitat smart cards for subscription users, a trans- port app for mobile devices and also limited-use tickets for tourists and occasional users. The whole system will be based on contactless technology. And it is in fact one of the first large- scale roll-outs of a transport ticketing system based on the CIPURSE security standard in Europe.

To support this project, we partner with system integrator Indra and supply the Infineon CIPURSE Security Controller for T-Mobilitat smart cards and our SLE 97 security chip as hardware platform for the security access module for ticket validators.

Why did ATM premier an Open Standards solution with T-Mobilitat?

Future proof and more flexibility, I would say. Most electronic trans- port ticketing systems in use today have one major disadvantage: they are based on proprietary technologies. This restricts the flexibility of transportation service providers and reduces cost transparency. Security is also an issue: It is generally accepted that existing proprietary systems are not secure enough – and robust security is a key success factor for emerging multi-application scenarios, where one card can be used for different transactions. The CIPURSE security standard overcomes these limitations.

Firstly, as an open standard defined by the OSPT Alliance, CIPURSE grants open access to the market. This promotes transparent and healthy competition, particularly important with regards to the scale of this project. This also improves interoperability across numerous supplier networks. Ultimately, both of these factors combine to give transportation service providers the freedom of greater flexibility and independent decisions. Secondly, it is particularly secure, thus protecting transport operators against fraud and users against theft of their private credentials.

And finally, CIPURSE is future-proof, scaling from limited-use tickets up to mobile solutions, also allow- ing providers to smoothly migrate to next-generation transport ticketing systems.

Are there any specific difficulties trans- port operators are facing and how can you help to solve them?

It is important that transport operators see the advantages of migrating to open standard-based systems. Electronic fare collection systems have already been implemented in major cities worldwide. Some regions such as South American and Asian countries are particularly advanced. In these regions either legacy systems are used or national standards are defined. As many of these legacy systems come of age, transport operators now have the chance to select flexible, future-proof and cost-efficient solutions based on open standards such as CIPURSE. We have been supplying chip-based security for transport ticketing for more than 25 years and provide transport operators with state-of-the-art solutions that allow smooth migration – take the city of Perm in Russia, for instance.

To conclude, what is your vision for electronic fare collection in smart cities?

Seamless and convenient transportation infrastructure is a key pillar of smart cities. Already today, public transportation includes much more than bus and train. Private car sharing services and bike rentals are increasingly part of the game. In addition, automated fare collection will call for a comprehensive payment infra- structure that works with all kinds of contactless devices. With contactless technologies, users will expect convenience and will not want to worry about security issues.

We believe that open standards are the only way to effectively meet these challenges. CIPURSE is the perfect platform to make public transport systems attractive, accessible, affordable, secure and flexible enough to support changing demands.

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