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Smart Cards In Transportation

The potential for smart card applications is huge. Yet some of the testing is not being done in broader markets such as the retail market, but rather for local, specific applications.

One area where cards appear to have caught on is transportation.

Areas of the New York City corridor and southern California have toll roads that allow drivers to pass quickly through toll gates, with automatic deductions triggered by devices placed in the windows. Recently, the Pennsylvania Turnpike system also began testing smart cards. Through an agreement with PNC Bank, employees of the turnpike have received cards that allow them to enter the toll road, access the administration building, and pay for purchases in the cafeteria and vending machines. The new smart card system is a test being conducted in hopes of using such cards for the wider application of offering services to toll road customers.

And smart cards are finally catching on in the minds of parking professionals. In Europe, many cities have parking programs that use smart cards, but such programs are only beginning here in the United States.

Tests are now being conducted in some major cities to replace parking meters with machines that will read the stored values on smart cards.

In New York City, the local parking bureau has already begun converting its 66,000 mechanical devices to electronic devices that will accept the cards, and it is testing the cards in payment stations for multi-space parking areas. In Washington, D.C., Lockheed Martin has been asked to test smart cards for the city in 1,500 of the 15,000 meters it has installed that have smart card slots.

Copyright © 1999 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 9, No. 4, 5/99

First published on 05/01/1999

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