The Periodic Ticket can soon be History

A brand-new research project aims to create a simpler and more fair ticketing system for you and me. fluxLoop has teamed up with Kristiania University College, Ruter (the public transportation company serving the greater Oslo region) and Nordland County Municipality. With their ongoing research project, they are working on how to eliminate the ticket frustration in public transport. The project is supported by the Research Council of Norway.

A new era with extensive use of home offices and less travelling has accelerated the discussion about pricing in the public transport system. People are questioning whether it is necessary to pay full price for a periodic ticket if you travel to the office just three times a week or less, also whether it is fair to pay for a ticket based on zones if you only travel within a small partof a zone.

These are just two of the challenges the new research project will solve.

"The unique technology we are using in this research project will precisely determine whether a traveler is inside a vehicle or not. They also determine what type of movement the traveler performs; for instance if he/she rides a bike, is in a car, walks, or travels by public transport. This is possible by the use of sensors in the travellers’ mobile phones together with other external data sources", says Ulrik Prøitz, CEO of fluxLoop AS.

The idea is to make new data and insights about the travellers’ position available to the industry, by the use of the travellers’ mobile phones. Which again will enable automatic ticketing, analysis of travel flows and behaviour and potentially brand new business models. The result will be a more seamless and an even more attractive travel offer customised to the travellers needs. The insight will be based on the travellers’ consents, always with the option of turning off the technology and delete the recorded data.

"Public transportation companies will be able to respond to the customers’ need for more efficient trips and fair pricing. New pricing models can be calculated on the basis of the number of stops, the length of the journey, or the time spent in the vehicle. This can happen through automatic ticketing in the company’s ticketing-app", says Tor Morten Grønli, Professor in Computer Science at Kristiania University College.

Better and More Efficient Itineraries

However, this is not the only benefit that could come from the research project. By retrieving information into travel habits and travel patterns automatically through the ticketing-app, public transportation companies can better understand what works and identify areas for improvement.

"This will allow them to quickly identify the need for more or fewer stops. They can consider changing routes to better respond to their customers’ needs, or quickly decide whether they should add additional vehicles on one specific route", says Prøitz.
"At the same time, it enables a more flexible journey as the travellers will always have a valid ticket that they do not have to renew at given intervals, as is the case today", says Grønli.

About the Project

Be-Insight is a research project that lasts from March 2020 until July2022. The project participants are fluxLoop AS, Høyskolen Kristiania, Ruter AS and Nordland fylkeskommune, with fluxLoop AS being the project owner. The project is supported by the Norwegian Research Council.  

The goal is to enable automated ticketing (Be-In, Be-Out) and new business models in the public transport area. The project will also improve trip flow modelling and behaviour analysis for the mobility industry. The gained insight will enable the industry players to better improve their operation and service offerings.

The research project revolves around how to use and combine various technologies in order to accurately determine the position of a mobile phone, without compromising user privacy. This will give the mobility players the necessary foundation for automatic ticketing, as well as valuable insights for further optimising of service offerings.

The end users will enjoy a “ticket free”experience and more reasonable pricing, based on actual number of stops, travel time or travel distance, as opposed to the present pricing structure which often is perceived as unfair.  

Research shows that a reduction in complexity increases customer satisfaction and the number of travellers and trips. Hence, the innovation will lead to more people choosing public transport, and thereby add to positive benefits on the environment.  

Photo by Artem from Pexels