Future paths for regional fare collection in Atlanta: a case study analysis of the planning and implementation of next generation fare collection systems for regional transit in North America
Anders, Joel D.
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The Atlanta region will soon be faced with a choice as to how it will go about planning for and implementing its next regional fare collection system that will replace the current BREEZE system. In 2006, MARTA became the first transit agency in the United States to implement an all contactless smartcard for use on its services. However, there have been many advances in new technologies and the consumer payment preferences have evolved since the initial implementation. These developments, coupled with the rapid consumer adoption of smartphones and changing attitudes within the financial payments industry towards transit properties, have recently led four major transit agencies within North America to implement new fare collection systems based on open payments, the development of mobile ticketing applications, or a combination. This research uses a case study methodology to answer several questions related to the planning and implementation of regional fare collection systems in Chicago (CTA), Dallas (DART), Philadelphia (SEPTA) and Toronto (TTC). Based on the experience of the case study agencies, the implementation of Atlanta's next fare collection system is sure to be a long and arduous process. However, by utilizing the lessons learned from DART, CTA, SEPTA and TTC, MARTA and the other regional operators (Cobb Community Transit, Gwinnett County Transit and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority) will be better poised to provide their patrons with additional means of paying fares while, at the same, minimizing the disruption to the existing fare collection system during the transition period.