Smart Cities, Smart Transit: Modernizing Public Transport
Public Transport Victoria required a dedicated partner to continue the ongoing operation of its public transport ticketing system, originally built by NTT DATA. The system, called “myki”, must scale to support 20 million mass transit smartcards and over 24,000 devices located on trains, streetcars and buses. The widespread use of mobile technologies for daily tasks has precipitated the demand for a “travel ready” solution for myki customers. Across Australia the pervasive use of “tap & go” payment technology demanded that public transport expand to include mobile capabilities.
NTT DATA continues to build on the existing back-office system, developed under the previous contract, to offer a self-service, data-driven ticketing system. Innovations include allowing customers to travel using their mobile phones instead of the plastic card, effective use of a big data platform for business insights, and leveraging the open architecture design of myki to deliver next-generation devices in the field.
Technology in the transit ticketing is advancing at an exponential rate, yet NTT DATA remains at the forefront of thought leaders and innovators in the space. And there’s no better example of this than the public transport ticketing system in the Australian State of Victoria, known as “myki”.
The myki system radiates from the state’s capital of Melbourne to all regional centres, with approximately 265 train stations, 490 trams and 2,200 buses myki-enabled for seamless travel across all modes of transport in all 13 of the state’s transport zones. NTT DATA used off-the-shelf components and an open systems architecture to modernise myki’s back-office platform with an eye toward future innovation and integration possibilities.
As the initial build, implementation and operation contract awarded to NTT DATA drew to an end, NTT DATA was selected by the State of Victoria to continue services, maintenance of existing assets and develop improvements to the myki ticketing system.
NTT DATA quickly focused on modernisation of myki. With the implementation of Centaur, a big data system, NTT DATA provided PTV with greater opportunities to gather and analyse hundreds of data types. Data collected includes passenger type, fare statistics, methods of payment, journey locations, routes for each vehicle, departure and arrival times, and the number of passengers dismounting at each stop. This valuable information provides the government with actionable data for maintaining and improving services to passengers throughout the state.
The myki system accommodates more than 585 million trips per year, processing more than $1.7 billion in funds and 15 million myki cards have been sold to local, interstate and international customers.
- Enabled PTV to gather and analyse hundreds of data types to improve planning and transportation efficiency
- Implemented mobile ticketing technology, allowing passengers to pay for travel on public transport using their Android mobile phones in near real time
- Maximised asset life to free up current payment channels for plastic smartcard users
- Increased throughput of devices as next generation equipment is installed
- Decreased down time across the myki solution, by implementing a big data platform that supports proactive fault analysis.
Smartcard, smart transit
The NTT DATA-operated ticketing system is one of the largest mass transit smartcard projects in the world. The solution is scaled for more than 20 million mass transit smartcards used across more than 24,000 devices located on trains, trams and buses distributed around the metropolitan and regional areas of the State of Victoria. Seamlessly managing the ever-increasing volume of trips since beginning operations over a decade ago, the system has grown exponentially – from 400 million trips in 2009 to over 585 million trips in 2018. To keep pace with growth and to provide PTV with the latest in innovation, NTT DATA continues to implement new technologies that will accommodate the system now and well into the future.
NTT DATA provides PTV end-to-end supply chain and operational management of its ticketing smartcards, including a 24x7 help desk, training, reporting, audit and compliance and data management. For the people of Melbourne, downtime is not an option. The updated system includes not only end-to-end management of more than 24,000 pieces of installed equipment across the state but also data centre management for disaster recovery and all development environments.
Innovation and success
NTT DATA has implemented considerable improvements to the myki ticketing system and continues to provide innovative solutions to PTV.
Mobile myki. Mobile and convenient, the most recent innovation allows passengers to use their Android phone to pay for and travel on public transport. This newly developed ticketing technology – Mobile myki – uses near-field communication technology to integrate with existing myki ticket barriers and card readers across trains, trams and buses. Wherever myki is used, passengers can also use their mobile phones to board.
As one of the first public transport networks in the world to trial and implement mobile ticketing technology across multiple transport modes without building new infrastructure or equipment, myki makes life easier for PTV passengers. They can now refill their myki account on the go, check the balance of Mobile myki at any time, avoid queues at myki machines, and avoid the chance of forgetting or losing a physical myki card.
NTT DATA joined forces with several industry-leading companies, including Google, and NXP Semiconductors.
Implementing open architecture. The open standards-based solution implemented for myki provides the flexibility to pick and choose the best devices and vendors. Pluggable interfaces allow any aspect of the solution, both front- and back-office, to be updated when a better option or newer technology becomes available.
Adherence to open standards means minimal hardware changes for a quick transition from old devices to next-generation devices. And next-generation devices can seamlessly integrate into the ticketing ecosystem.
Increased transaction capacity. As populations and patronage continue to grow, so too does the amount of information transmitted to and from myki ticketing devices. To accommodate the increasing data and ensure device performance and card processing time, NTT DATA moved certain tasks from the myki devices to the back office, reducing the data sent back and forth. These improvements have resulted in a 15% increase in transaction volume capacity for the device network and improved fare processing on device throughput the system.
Peak performance. In busy metropolitan cities like Melbourne, transit systems need to accommodate peak periods of ridership. During these periods, device data processing times intensify. To ensure responsiveness, NTT DATA led the development of a next generation device suit to leverage myki’s open architecture. Modern processors were used to allow consistent device performance at peak periods, while the device is communicating and processing updates to and from the central system. This resulted in reduced transaction time to/from the central system. Processing has been reduced from the previous three hours to every 15 minutes for rail devices. The improvements offer a seamless experience to myki customers. Delivering Big Data. NTT DATA is a global leader in Big Data platforms, we applied this knowledge to develop a customised solution unique to myki’s needs. The delivered solution is now integral to the myki architecture, effectively managing the data flow between the central system and front office equipment. Leveraging a proven big data platform has allowed NTT DATA to consume a range of data sources from weather information to special events calendars and census data. This allows PTV to begin to understand how customers interact with public transport and determine the impact of various events – both planned and unplanned.
Contactless media. The myki ticketing system uses the MIFARE DESFire D40 chipset in contactless smartcards. The open architecture assures the system is compliant with the next-generation chipset MIFARE DESFIRE EV2, which is planned for implementation in the future. Moving the chip set without any change to the solution demonstrates NTT DATA has put in place a “future proof” system for myki and enables PTV to begin exploring the many benefits this new chip set offers.
About Public Transport Victoria
Public Transport Victoria embraces new technology to bring smart ticketing to Victoria, Australia.