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Smart payment for a smart mobility

Smart payment for a smart mobility

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Source: Smart Cities, Smart mobility, by Luckas Nekermann with Tim Smedley  - p.114 to 115 2017


How will we pay for all these on-demand, mobility-as-a-service journeys in a world where we no longer own our means of transport, which are provided by multiple operators?

Today, your smartphone knows (and communicates) your exact location. It also knows your speed and – in combination with your calendar – your destination. In a UK trial that included both location and Wi-Fi data, Vodafone was able to identify not just location, but also your mode of transport in 98 percent of cases. This means that your smartphone is already the most powerful tool for payments – whether you are in a car, on a bicycle, in a bus or underground. Looking ahead, it is entirely conceivable (and likely) that we will be seamlessly charged by the kilometer and by the mode of transport (and including all of them). This will most certainly include models of road charging that are less ‘blunt’ than today’s congestion charge.

The key to any smart payment system is ubiquity – which in most cases gives public transport operators an edge. Even though over two million Londoners have downloaded the Uber app – meaning over 30 percent of the adult population already have it on their smartphones – many more have the Oyster Card.(…)

To be the ubiquitous provider is also the aim of the Swiss public transport authority (SBB). It has defined its role in line with its title: to transport the public by any and every mode possible. As such, they are moving to a one-swipe card solution allowing users to move (and pay) across all modes of transport – from public train to bikeshare to carshare. This also includes autonomous buses, which are already running in  Switzerland on a six to eight-kilometre bus route, using hardware from Navya.

Even more ubiquitous alternatives to cars and smartphones already exist. In Yinchuan, China – one of  early 200 smart city pilot projects in China – your face is your credit card. On local buses, facial recognition software is linked to passengers’ bank accounts. It has, naturally, been dubbed pay by selfie.


*The author, Lukas Neckermann is a thought-leader with whom the Corporate Vehicle Observatory shares the same interest in the evolution of cities and mobility by focusing on the specific interconnection between smart mobility and smart cities, and how this leads to a different, new, smart way of living, commuting, and working.

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