Porto is the second largest city in Portugal with over 230,000 inhabitants. A total of 1.76 million people live in the city's metropolitan region. The region is one of the most important economic and cultural centers in Portugal.
Mobility in the region is provided by 19 different transport companies. This includes passenger transport by bus, train, metro, tram and funicular. In 2003, the public transport system in Porto was merged into an intermodal system, the Porto Intermodal Transport Network (TIP). Since the reorganization, the metropolitan region has been divided into 47 geographically defined zones. The fare is calculated according to the number of fare zones crossed, regardless of the means of transport.
The aim of the TIP is to simplify the use of public transport for customers with a mobile ticketing solution. This includes contactless payment for tickets as well as automatic ticket control and calculation of fares.
(Image Source: University of Porto)
The calculation of the fare depends on the number of zones of the transport network crossed during a trip. The goal is to calculate the fare at the end of the trip and eliminate the need for manual ticketing. This requires accurate tracking and recording of the trip route from the beginning of the trip and the stop of recording at the end of the trip. Due to the arrangement of public transport in an intermodal system, the functionality of the recording must also be guaranteed when changing the means of transport.
Objectives of the TIP
A mobile ticketing solution including an app, NFC-enabled ticketing terminals and BLE beacons has been deployed in the Porto metropolitan region to track trips in public transportation and to calculate fares.
Customers download the app ANDA on an NFC and BLE-enabled smartphone prior to their trip. At the start of every trip, the smartphone is tapped against an NFC terminal, for example in a train station. The beginning of a new trip is recorded in the app.
BLE beacons are deployed at train stations as well as in buses. During the trip, the smartphone communicates with the BLE beacons using the active Bluetooth function. Every stop is recorded using the Micro-Location System and displayed in the app.
At the end of the trip, the smartphone is no longer in range of the BLE beacons. The recording of the trip ends automatically. An algorithm is used to calculate the fare depending on the number of travel zones crossed.
Customers are able to view their travel history as well as the fares in the app. Billing is conducted monthly. If the total fare of the individual trips exceeds that of a monthly transport pass, the fare for a monthly pass is invoiced instead.
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