Expertise Centre for E-ticketing in Public Transport

Research and design lab for user-centred payment systems for public transport

Exploring design solutions that improve the user experience of current smart-card ticketing and future public transport ticketing systems. That is the mission of the Expertise Centre for E-ticketing in Public Transport, a user-centred design and research lab, in which researchers and graduation students of TU Delft collaborate with transport operators, governments and technology developers. In the upcoming phase of the centre we will apply our user-centred approach beyond public transport, to seamless mobility services across private, shared and public transport modalities.

OV-betalen and the OV-chipkaart
The OV-chipkaart is the Dutch system for electronic payment in public transport. The system is unique in terms of scale (nationwide) and complexity (many parties involved). During its introduction aspects of the system proved to be suboptimal in terms of usability (ease of use). However, the system potentially has great benefits for travelers. With our expertise centre we aim to contribute to improving the user-centredness of the current system, but also to ensure that the next steps – such as integrating bankcards and mobile phones as payment methods – will immediately be an improvement for travelers.

Video: Introduction of X-CEPT

Organisation and collaboration
The Expertise Centre for E-ticketing in Public Transport (X-CEPT) is an initiative of the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering of TU Delft. Within the expertise centre several research and design projects were formulated and then organisations from practice were approached to take part in the subprojects and to finance these. Additionally, X-CEPT received government funding through the ClickNL program.

The expertise centre has collaborated with the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement (IenW), the Interprovincial Council (IPO), the Dutch public transport travellers' association (ROVER), NS (Dutch national railways), RET (Rotterdam municipal transport), GVB (Amsterdam municipal transport), Connexxion (transport operator), KLM (Dutch airline), Schiphol Airport, Thales (maker of E-ticketing equipment and software) and Translink (the company behind the OV-chipkaart).

X-CEPT: past, present and future

OV-chipkaart Graduation Lab: The first phase of this expertise centre was called the 'OV-chipkaart Graduation Lab' and in this stage, our efforts were mostly conducted at analysing the issues at hand and improving the current system. Under the supervision of experienced design researchers, three graduation students analysed the usability of the Dutch OV-chipkaart system and benchmarked it against the systems in London and Hong Kong. In individual design projects they subsequently developed solutions for the usage problems that they had identified, such as visualising traveller status information, making checking in and out more fluent, and improving card acquisition and service provision. We also developed a design vision for a more usable OV-chipkaart in the near future.

Expertise Centre for E-ticketing in Public Transport (X-CEPT). In the second phase the name changed to reflect that the focus was now also on the future of public transport ticketing. Apart from graduation students, now also researchers were involved. A number of projects still focused on solving current challenges of the OV-chipkaart, such as the user experience for international air travellers to the Netherlands, border crossing train ticketing and preventing missed check-outs at open payment boundaries. But we also explored how in the (near) future the bank card could be integrated successfully in the OV-chipkaart system, how mobile ticketing should be implemented to offer a satisfying user experience and how a new generation of access gates could offer superior passenger flow and user experience.

The future: Expertise Centre for Seamless Mobility Services. This will be the next (upcoming) phase of the expertise centre, focused on service design for smart personal mobility. Applying the same user-centred and integrated approach as in previous projects, with new multi-disciplinary stakeholder consortia consisting of transport operators, governments and technology partners, around different topics.

We will explore the future of TRIP-platforms (Ticketing, Reservation, Information, and Planning) and how new transport modalities can be integrated in current personal mobility ecosystems. The two main themes connecting the different topics are Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Seamless Travelling. The starting point for each project is the end user, in this case the traveller. We will identify the critical use factors and explore what would be the ideal user experience for future mobility services.

More information and/or collaboration?

Suzanne Hiemstra-van Mastrigt