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The European Travellers Club: Account-Based Travelling across the European Union

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ETC (The European Travellers Club: Account-Based Travelling across the European Union)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

The European Travellers Club (ETC) is a project by and for European transport e-ticketing schemes or operators, travellers organizations and technology providers to create seamless account-based traveling (ABT) across the European Union. The project consists of:
(1) a governance structure;
(2) the technological development of our solutions (including standards and interfaces); and
(3) the European Travellers Lab to develop and test and demonstrate use cases, business rules, and interoperability across schemes and identifiers.

The objectives of our programme are:
1. The eco-system, governance structure and organisation must be developed.
2. Set-up the necessary privacy regulations for travellers.
3. The European Travel Lab for testing and demonstration.
4. Design and implement an Authentication and Routing Hub to give the traveller direct and real time access to her or his transaction data. It connects the transactions generated with the back office systems of all participants. Furthermore, for cross-border interoperability the hubs must be connected.
5. Design and implement an Interoperable ID-Layer to cost-effectively cross-accept and authenticate fare media issued by other transport ticketing schemes.
6. Design and implement Interoperable Accounts Systems where the rights to travel on a specific time and journey must be stored in a way that they can be inspected.
7. Design and implement Interoperable Traveller Interface. The Traveller will be able to use his “home” travel app to travel through all EU Members States.
8. There will be 3 Pilots with the following specific objectives: to demonstrate Account-Based Travelling for both regional and cross-border travellers on the basis of on-line planned and booked tickets, or on the basis of Pay-As-You-Go and Post payment proposition. To demonstrate the integration of transport and non-transport services (such as parking).

Conclusions of the action:
The objectives as stated above have been achieved by the project, although we do recognize that work needs to be done to further enhance the first two objectives. This will be done through the entity (Accept Institute) and its network of partners in the coming months.

The feedback we got from the participants in the pilots were very positive. Almost 450 travellers participated in the cross-border pilot, which generated more then 7,000 transactions. Almost 45% reacted on online survey with a very positive outcome: approximately 80% of the travellers would recommend the ETC (system and card).

The involved parties (Authorities, Transport Operators, Scheme Providers, Suppliers) are also very satisfied about the results. They decided to continue with the 3 pilots and drafted a Letter of Intent with a roadmap included to further roll-out the concept and expand its functionality.
The project was extended with 12 months to April 2018.

In the first months we worked on further detailing the project and its project management. The europeantravellersclub.eu website was launched, which is used to explain the ETC and publish relevant documentation and specifications. Besides this website, we have promoted our project at several international conferences and will continue to do that via the e-TSAP association (e.tsap.net).

With the partners in the consortium and interested stakeholders we have worked on the governance principles and set-up of the ETC as a separate entity. This entity was formally set-up, with its own statutes, business plan and governance and is called Accept Institute (acceptinstitute.eu). Accept is the entity that will be used to further exploit the results of the ETC project and has 6 members in their advisory board: Rejsekort A/S from Denmark, ITSO Ltd. from the UK, Transport Scotland, Translink from the Netherlands, NTA from Ireland and Verkéiersverbond from Luxembourg.

The ETC-Lab acts as a demonstration and testing facility for our program. We have tested the central authentication and routing hub, account-systems, front-end equipment, mobile apps etc. and use cases for all pilots and invited several stakeholders to the Lab in order to demonstrate the ETC concept.

The central authentication and routing hub (EcoSpace Core) and its interfaces were developed by Accept. The interoperable ID, the Generic Secure Token, used as an identifier and connected to the account of traveller was designed and implemented. It can reside as a side-token on existing chip cards and/or other form factors.

We executed 3 pilots in our project: the pilot in Luxembourg focusses on the multi-application aspects of the Account-Based traveling concept, while the 2 pilots in The Netherlands and Germany focus on cross-border travelling. For all three pilots the ETC software and interfaces, both for the front-end equipment as for the back-office systems, has been implemented in a real-life environment with the existing suppliers (eg. INIT, Scheidt&Bachmann, IVU, Systemtechnic). The front-end equipment has been connected to the EcoSpace Core. Next to that all travellers (approximately 500 in total) have been issued smartcards, produced by existing card suppliers with the existing transport application and the GST token (a special developed token within the ETC program) and smartphone apps to view their transactions.
The project had 3 impacts envisaged:
1. to motivate e-ticketing schemes and transport operators to embrace ABT as part of their service offering. The standards, interfaces, processes and technologies developed in the project will be made freely available to all interested parties, thus helping them to migrate better, faster and more cost-effectively, while at the same time reaping the benefits of interoperability, an open ecosystem (no vendor lock-in), and next-generation privacy.
2. more and more schemes in member states and regions will cross-recognize each other through the ETC, thus allowing their travellers to use their existing (home) account across borders and schemes.
3. improve and speed up innovations and knowledge sharing between such schemes.

Ad 1. This impact has been achieved: - the Accept Advisory Council with a focus on ABT has 6 members: Rejsekort (Denmark), ITSO (UK), Transport Scotland (UK), National Transport Authority (Ireland), Verkéiersverbond (Luxembourg) and Translink (The Netherlands); - ABT is recognized as the next step for many e-ticketing schemes. We have promoted ABT and the ETC concept at many conferences, towards our e-TSAP members and towards (local) government (like the 4-country platform between Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg);
Ad 2. This impact has been achieved as the members of Accept are committed to promote cross-border ABT; - e-TSAP will be formally incorporated for this purpose and a working group with STA on ABT has been established. The pilots will continue and a roadmap has been defined to further roll-out the concept and even include other countries like Belgium. This could give a core area for cross-border travelling across the Benelux and Germany (talks with Denmark have started).
Ad 3. Negative is that the project has taken a year longer. Positive is that ABT development across ETC consortium, Advisory Council Members and e-TSAP members have been embraced as the de facto future vision of ABT and people are actively sharing the concept and experiences in special workshops and the upcoming working group with STA.