When Will Blockchain Technology Reach the Transit Industry?

When Will Blockchain Technology Reach the Transit Industry?

Mark Sieber Transit
Blockchain is a new and potentially transformational technology for tracking of transactions between parties in a verifiable and permanent way that also makes tampering virtually impossible. It is already being tested in use for supply chain management by shipping and trucking companies, and freight railroads are also joining in. On the horizon is the potential for blockchain technology for public transportation, especially insofar as it facilitates more integrated transportation services offered by partner organizations.

Staff at EDR Group and our affiliate EBP in Switzerland (www.ebp.ch) have been assembling information on how blockchain technology can be used by the passenger transportation service providers. We believe that there are plenty of potential uses that could also be beneficial to the transit industry and would be worth exploring further. Below are some of the potential use cases that this technology could provide for the transit industry.

Need / use case for BC

Advantages of BC / remark

Integrated ticketing for trip chains with multiple service providers

Automatic real-time changes in reservations can be implemented in case of delay

Incentive to become a regular rider - loyalty program

Loyalty programs for multiple service providers are easily implemented without common centralized server infrastructure; loyalty points are tamper-proof

Issue of tamper-proof, non-copiable tickets

Preventing forgery and illegal copying of data is at the very core of BC

Automatic, tamper-proof, and transparent accounting procedures between different service providers

Payments because of non-compliance with punctuality targets (requires access to real-life travel performance database)

Ticket-related use cases

Examples: allow resale of unused personalized tickets (for a given fee), cancellation, and refund procedures

Payments of statutory compensation for delays and defaults

Automatic and transparent refund procedures

Insurance against delays or cancellations

Easy registration for insurance coverage, automatic payment procedures according to policy conditions

Door-to-door transportation chain

BC simplifies inclusion of ride-hailing services into one single ticket

Demand-driven, dynamic provision of services by different carriers

BC significantly simplifies matching of mobility demand in real-time, using standard procedures

Automatic fare reductions linked to age, retirement, disabilities etc.

Automatic processing / refunds (requires access to the necessary data)

Use of linked passenger data

BC allows passengers to easily provide and block the necessary personal data

Tamper-proof documentation of vehicle-related data

Examples: Date and type of maintenance work, origin of spare parts etc.

Loyalty Program for Transit Riders Automatic rewards for loyal riders, e.g. when they are ready to share their travel data or to adjust their travel behaviour.

Exchange of data between vehicles in real time with a wide set of use cases, e.g. decision whether to break a scheduled connection, optimized use of fleets etc.

BC spares the purchase of special hardware and development of carrier-specific software.