Identifying Fare Payment System Needs
- Date: June 6, 2022
N-CATT's Strategic Technology Technical Assistance Teams (STTATs) work directly with individual transit agencies to identify what, if any, technology tools can help them achieve certain outcomes. The process focuses on identifying goals (e.g. addressing a certain service challenge, providing a new service), then examining current processes and circumstances around it. Laying out that information helps agencies identify the criteria that would successfully lead them toward their stated outcomes. Only then should they determine what type of technologies address those needs, and the level of sophistication required to reasonably accomplish their goals. After going through this process, transit agencies have a road map that will help them navigate existing vendors and applications and determine which tools best help them do what they need to do. Those efforts have resulted in documents to help TA recipients through this process, and we now have generic versions of these documents to help you understand the process and see how it could apply to your agency.
One of these TA efforts supported a transit agency in a rural community that hopes to upgrade its fare collection system from cash and paper tickets to some form of electronic validation. They were able to outline a set of specifications that would help them identify a fare payment technology that most closely helps them accomplish their goals. We did this by discussing the goals and challenges of multiple departments (IT, Finance, Transit Operations) across the agency and mapping out the specifications that would suit their unique needs and processes. This involved monthly check-in calls and research to map out the system's current state and processes, and later to convert research on systems into specifications that will both fit the agency's needs and be realistic to encourage vendor bids. This resulted in the linked specification spreadsheet. It's important to remember that the specifications that this agency came up with will not necessarily reflect the needs of your agency, but the process for getting to them can help you see the line from need to outcome. Hopefully this helps you do the same.
Please note, that this report is illustrative and not intended to be replicated.