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CHAPTER 3 Findings of Peer Review of Interoperable Smartcard Programs This chapter compares the interoperability of programs currently implemented or under development. The research identified similarities and differences in the system features, the data exchange, and the policies for selected peer agencies, and begins to establish benchmarks and best practices for developing interoperable smartcard systems for transit. Establishing the benchmarks and identifying best practices is based on conducting a detailed survey of agencies that have implemented or are in the early stages of implementing a regional smartcard fare payment system. Most agencies surveyed are U.S. and Canadian transit operators, because the legislation under which U.S. and Canadian transit agencies operate limits the com- mercial opportunities for innovative business arrangements such as establishing corporations and issuing shares for participation in a business similar to those in Singapore, Hong Kong, or Europe. Fully implemented regional smartcard fare payment systems in Asia and Europe have been oper- ating longer than any in the United States and Canada. Because the international projects con- tinue to serve as benchmarks throughout the world, they have also been included in the survey. The research focused on identifying the information exchanged between participating agen- cies. The survey data are intended to provide a benchmark for comparing the data elements crit- ical to achieving fare payment interoperability. These critical elements are identified in Chapter 4. Key policies affecting interoperability are also part of the survey, because establishing policies that tie agencies participating in an interoperable fare payment system together is equally impor- tant to technology decisions. Moreover, the findings and current trends both within and outside the transit industry are compared. Particularly, adding non-transit services (or becoming inter- operable with non-transit services) affects the data elements to be exchanged. The primary sources of information were transit agency personnel and project managers who have or have had direct project involvement. Secondary sources of information consisted of a lit- erature review (particularly websites and project documentation). The research team's direct involvement through engagements with the planning, design, and implementation of many of the systems served to substantiate the information provided by primary and secondary sources. The regional (interoperable) fare payment systems reviewed in this chapter are SmarTrip--Greater Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area, Maryland, Northern Virginia (www.wmata.com/riding/smartrip.cfm) TransLink--San Francisco Bay Area (www.mtc.ca.gov/projects/translink/translnk.htm) Chicago Card--Chicago, IL (www.chicago-card.com) Central Puget Sound Regional Fare Coordination (RFC) Project--Seattle, WA (http:// transit.metrokc.gov/prog/smartcard/smartcard.html) Go-To Card--St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN (www.mvta.com/tafsinformation.html) 28