Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

New Payments Technologies System

LTK Engineering Services (LTK) is providing technical, procurement and project management support services to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) for the replacement of SEPTA’s existing fare payment and collection system.

FC01-IMGThe new state-of-the-art, integrated, electronic fare payment, distribution, collection and processing system will utilize best practices of modern technologies in the consumer and fare payment sectors, capable of interfacing with both bank and non-bank financial clearing systems for transaction processing and settlement. 

This system has been entitled “New Payment Technologies” (NPT) System. The NPT System will be a flexible fare payment and collection system that provides a variety of means for customers to pay fares on the SEPTA transit system, such as SEPTA-issued smart card and magnetic media, bank-issued contactless cards, fobs, mobile phones, and other third-party issued ISO-compliant devices, as well as cash.

The NPT System will be deployed across all modes of transportation operated as part of the SEPTA system, including buses, light rail vehicles (trolleys), rapid transit, commuter rail, paratransit services and SEPTA’s parking system. 

The integrated, electronic NPT System will feature a variety of elements including: fare vending devices; smart media processors on turnstiles, faregates, and onboard surface vehicles; a central data collection and reporting system; and various services including an outsourced customer support center as well as revenue and maintenance services for the procured system elements.

LTK was responsible for development of the summary systems requirement specification as well as operations analysis documentation to support the system design decision process. LTK worked closely with SEPTA to develop the procurement strategy, was responsible for development of the detailed technical specification and also provided various other procurement documents including the price forms, engineer’s estimate and other contractual supporting documents. LTK provided support for the on-going procurement process including development of detailed responses to proposer questions, procurement addenda and documents for the Best-and-Final-Offer (BAFO) process.

SEPTA awarded the post-award NPT Program Management Services contract to LTK in August 2011, and SEPTA subsequently awarded the NPT System Contract to the successful proposer team, ACS/Xerox, in November 2011.  LTK is currently working closely with SEPTA in support of the NPT Program.  Program management activities include management/oversight of design review, manufacturing, testing, installation, revenue service and warranty phases of the NPT Program.

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Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) 

New Electronic Payments Program

LTK Engineering Services (LTK) is currently providing long-term fare collection consultant services to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).  The project has three main tasks: procurement support for the New Electronic Payments Program (NEPP), design and implementation oversight of enhanced communications infrastructure at Metrorail station mezzanines, and contract closeout support for the Regional AFC Upgrades of the Single Platform Solution.

FC02-IMGUnder the NEPP, LTK is overseeing strategy development and developing the technical and commercial procurement documents to modernize and replace WMATA’s fare collection system with a new electronic payments system.  The account-based NEPP relies on standards-based open architecture and requires the development of comprehensive interfaces that WMATA will control, enhancing the Authority’s capabilities for cost-effective lifecycle management of the system.

LTK has developed strategy documents which will allow WMATA’s AFC system to accept new forms of payment, increase the variety and types of media that can be processed, improve methods of communication and customer services, and allow a more rapid integration of emerging technologies. The NEPP will also accept a number of contactless media already common within the WMATA service area, including government issued identification media compliant with the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) standard. 

In the process of completing the NEPP task requirements, LTK has performed a survey of existing system equipment, and has also interviewed WMATA management and employees to identify Authority needs and priorities.  These findings are the basis for the NEPP system technical specification. 

Acting as an extension to Authority staff, LTK developed the Project Charter, Strategic Plan, Source Selection Plan, a First Stage RFP to qualify vendors, and was a member of the technical evaluation team. After the qualification of proposers in the First Stage, LTK support continued in the development of the NEPP Business Plan, and the Second Stage RFP documents which were issued in June 2011.  LTK will continue to provide ongoing support to the NEPP initiative subsequent to the award of the contract to the successful vendor through design review, manufacturing, testing, installation, revenue service and warranty phases of the program.

In support of WMATA’s AFC Engineering Department, LTK is managing an ongoing initiative to upgrade the Authority’s communications infrastructure to Ethernet cable across the WMATA rail system in advance of the NEPP. In addition to developing the work scope, LTK manages the project schedule, coordinates cross-departmental meetings, and supports and supervises onsite work.  Furthermore, LTK provides technical support in WMATA’s AFC Engineering software test lab where all software is test before deployment in the production environment.

In support of the closeout of the Regional AFC Upgrades of the Single Platform Solution, LTK is assisting the Office of the Treasurer with the development of a fully conformed set of contract documents through the collection and organization of all project correspondence and technical submittals in a secure, electronic, searchable manner. LTK also developed a comprehensive and clear list of required deliverables and their submittal status, including items such as documentation, training, hardware, software, test procedures and test results.  LTK is currently supporting the Office of the Treasurer with management of the remaining contractor deliverables for the Single Platform Solution, as well as transition of the existing proprietary smart media to open standard MiFare Plus media, procurement/deployment of new smart media and associated remote dispenser devices.

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Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) 

Automated Fare Collection System

LTK Engineering Services (LTK) is working on-site in Pittsburgh, PA assisting Port Authority of Allegheny County in ensuring the success of the Automated Fare Collection System project. LTK is providing project management services, general technical assistance, system implementation assistance, platform equipment installation design development and standard operating procedure development services.

FC03-IMGThe Port Authority’s fare collection system will consist of Validating Bus Fareboxes, Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs), Pole Mounted Smart Card Validators, and Smart Card Point-of-Sale Terminals, all of which communicate with a central computer system. The TVMs will serve as the primary method for distribution of limited use smart cards, as well as for the replenishment of plastic smart cards. In addition, point-of-sale terminals will be deployed at the Authority’s Downtown Service Center and across a network of retail outlets. In the LRT system, smart card validators (pole mounted) will be installed and portable terminals (hand held validators) will be used by fare inspectors. The deployment of these devices will allow the Authority to build a fare collection system that will assist in achieving its strategic goals.

LTK has conducted fare policy and alternative analyses in support of the Authority’s proposed plan to move to a proof-of-payment system.  Additionally, LTK is responsible for reviewing all technical documentation, providing design engineering support for the platform equipment installation, providing test and installation oversight, assisting in the development of the system implementation plan and leading the standard operating procedure development effort.  An integral part of LTK’s work is the creation of models to perform detailed alternatives analysis. 

LTK is providing on-site assistance to the Authority in a wide range of tasks, including overall project management, to prepare for the implementation of the Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS).  The AFCS implementation will have an Authority-wide impact and as such will require each department to review and document its current policies, procedures and processes.  LTK will identify critical system design elements by performing a detailed analysis of the same.  In the end these activities will result in the framework for building a solid plan for deployment of the smart card system. 


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Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG)

Connect Transit Card System

LTK Engineering Services was awarded two contracts by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG).  Under the first contract, awarded in 2004, LTK performed a study of the feasibility of implementing a regional transit farecard that would be accepted by the six-county region’s fourteen transit agencies.  The objective was to provide information and analysis so that the participating agencies could make an informed decision on implementing a regional farecard. 

FC4-IMGAs a first step in the feasibility study, LTK examined existing system characteristics, including fleet, facilities, policies and interagency agreements.  Concurrently, the team conducted interviews of transit system management to identify objectives and priorities.  Round table discussions were held for non-transit partners – employers, state offices, social services, schools and universities – and a number of transit rider focus groups were conducted. 

An LTK description of state-of-the-art in fare system technology was presented to the participating agencies.  Alternative strategies were developed and associated costs and benefits identified.  Encouraged by the study findings identified in the final report and consensus among the operating agencies, SACOG programmed funds for future phases to design, procure and implement a regional smart card system. 

In 2008, LTK was awarded a contract to undertake the second phase of the regional smart card program.  In this phase, LTK assisted SACOG, the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) and five other local transit operators with system planning, design and procurement.

In December 2009, SACOG exercised its option to amend the LTK contract to include the third phase of the program: procurement management and implementation support.

As part of this Phase, LTK prepared a detailed system description and operations plan providing a basis for the design.  An implementation plan and procurement schedule were also prepared to guide the agencies with system preparations.  LTK then prepared technical specifications and associated RFP and contract documents for solicitation of proposals to provide and install the regional system.  SACOG received four competitive proposals from qualified firms in November 2010.  With LTK support throughout the evaluation process, SACOG and the consortium of operating agencies awarded the contract in June 2011.  With the next Phase underway, the project is proceeding through a series of design reviews, which are expected to conclude in early 2012.  The newly-branded Connect Transit Card system will be fully deployed in early 2013.

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Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

Comprehensive Fare Payment System

LTK Engineering Services (LTK) provided assistance to Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) in the design, procurement and implementation of a next generation fare system. The project is referred to as the Comprehensive Fare Payment System (CFPS). The goal is to create a region-wide electronic payment infrastructure for transportation and other services.

FC05-1-IMGIn 2009 and 2010, LTK assisted DART in conducting a feasibility study for a Touchless Fare Collection system. This project involved the definition and conceptual design of a regional electronic payment infrastructure and system which would include local partner agencies such as City of Dallas, Denton County Transportation Authority, Fort Worth Transportation Authority, North Central Texas Council of Governments, North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA), and Trinity Railway Express. 

The system envisioned by DART would utilize contactless technology including smart cards, credit and debit cards, RFID tags, bar codes and near field communication devices. Feasibility studies were performed to determine how new technologies could provide financial and operational efficiencies for DART as well as a more equitable payment method for the transit-dependent, pay-as-you-go passengers by implementation of a best fare policy.

Based on extensive discussions with DART stakeholders, LTK outlined a number of different strategies for the new system. After an initial refinement, the basic system was presented to the DART stakeholders for their review. The vision was for a flexible system which could meet the needs of the greatest variety of users, including an account-based system to enable utilization of current back office systems provided by NTTA.

After LTK and DART developed an initial Concept of Operations for a new fare system, LTK provided additional support by refining plans and business cases of various alternatives to ensure the new system meets the agency’s current goals and objectives.

Concurrent to the business plan analysis, LTK supported DART with the procurement of an innovative mobile ticketing solution that will allow customers to use a mobile device as their fare media on DART and regional partner transit systems. The mobile “app” will provide both ticketing and a variety of travel information services such as trip planning and service alerts. A contract was awarded to Unwire APS in September 2012, and the system was launched in Summer 2013 as the first transit ticketing app in the U.S. to cover multiple agencies and transit modes while also providing integrated trip planning functionality.

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Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) 

Multi-Modal Fare Collection Systems

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) had long known that its EcoPass was severely underpriced, but they lacked data to support that contention, since the existing passes are simple flash passes, and no reliable usage information was available.  In addition, their existing fareboxes are beyond their useful life.  RTD looked to LTK to assist them in addressing these two problems in the most expeditious and cost-effective manner.

FC06-IMGAfter meeting with the agency’s stakeholders, LTK developed several alternative designs for consideration, including preliminary capital and operating cost estimates for each.  RTD quickly settled on a contactless smart media solution, to utilize standard cards as well as adhesive-backed smart media to be applied to employer and student IDs as a means to expedite implementation.  While the initial system deployment will address the long-term pass programs, the system will also enable RTD to evolve into accepting stored value media, shorter-term unlimited ride passes, and even third-party issued media such as contactless credit and debit cards.

With the overall system requirements defined, LTK turned its efforts to defining the optimum procurement method.  Two basic options were evaluated: a single procurement, to include new fareboxes with integrated smart media systems, or independent but coordinated procurements to separately purchase fareboxes and stand-alone smart media processors.  Because RTD was disinclined to procure new validating fareboxes due to cost and operating concerns, and to optimize industry participation, RTD opted to seek separate proposals for fareboxes and smart media technology.

Meanwhile, RTD envisioned a future where an on-board communications gateway would someday integrate data communications between multiple vehicle systems, as well as provide modern wireless data services, including a private Wi-Fi network for RTD’s use, and public Wi-Fi for passengers to enjoy while riding.  As a result, LTK was tasked with including a mobile communications gateway and router into the design, providing the integration foundation for the farebox and smart media systems, but also for future systems (such as a pending AVL system, CCTV, stop announcement systems, etc.)  A diagram of the conceptual diagram is shown.

LTK developed detailed performance-based specifications for both systems, along with several accompanying documents published as part of the RFPs.  Both supplier contracts have now been awarded after competitive procurements.  The Smart Media Technology project is currently nearing Final Design Review and the Farebox Replacement Project has commenced system-wide installation. 

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Metropolitan Council / Minnesota DOT

Regional Fare Collection System

LTK Engineering Services (LTK) is assisting Metropolitan Council and Minnesota Department of Transportation in ensuring the success of the Hiawatha Corridor LRT project.  LTK has provided engineering design, technical specifications, procurement management services, and comprehensive testing oversight for the entire fare collection system.

F2-MinnDOTThe Hiawatha Light Rail Corridor has a fare collection system that consists of Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs), Smart Card Validators, Smart Card Point-of-Sale Terminals, and Hand-Held Fare Inspector Terminals, all of which communicate with a central computer system.  TVMs serve as the primary method for distribution of magnetic fare media, as well as for the replenishment of smart cards. The single-ride and day-pass tickets issued by these devices are compatible with the magnetic ticket-based bus fare collection system, used by Metro Transit and the other twelve regional service providers. 

Equally important to the system are the point-of-sale terminals, smart card validators and portable terminals for fare inspectors.  Together these components form an effective fare system solution that is being used on all transit modes, and by all of the region’s service providers.

In addition to our work on the Hiawatha system, LTK provided design engineering, technical specifications, complete procurement management services and testing oversight to Metro Transit for the upgrade of a bus fare collection system for all of the region’s thirteen bus service providers.  The new bus AFC system accepts the smart card fare media used by the Hiawatha LRV Corridor, as well as magnetic fare media. On-board smart card readers interface with the pre-existing Siemens “smart bus” system for driver displays and controls, login data, as well as GPS-based location information.  The bus smart card processors also use wireless modems to communicate with agency computers.

In a final step to integrate the area’s fare collection systems, LTK and the Minnesota Department of Transportation worked together to define the fare collection system for the Northstar Corridor commuter rail system, now in full service. LTK included the needs of the Northstar AFC system in the specifications for the Hiawatha Corridor systems, and necessary equipment was purchased as part of the initial contract and placed in storage until needed.  With all of the area’s fare systems purchased using a single specification, the region’s mass transit passengers now have access to an easy-to-use, fully integrated state-of-the-art fare collection system.

At present, more than 150,000 smart cards are in circulation. As of 2012, LTK is currently assisting Metro Transit in the design and procurement of additional fare collection equipment for the region’s new Central Corridor LRT system, scheduled to operate between Minneapolis and St. Paul by 2014.

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Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) 

Parking Revenue Control System

LTK Engineering Services (LTK) is currently providing program oversight consulting services to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) at The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The Parking Revenue Control System (PRCS) project has three main phases: gather data requirements and lead the writing of the technical specification, vendor award support and finally, provide implementation oversight for the installation of an open architecture PRCS solution.

FC08-IMG2There are approximately 9,000 parking spaces at the airport’s garages and economy lot, served by thirteen entry and fifteen exit lanes. Due to the high demand for parking at Reagan National, MWAA is adding over 1,400 spaces to the airport's existing parking garages by constructing additional levels to the Hourly and Daily operations. The goal of the project is to ensure the revenue control system and technology meets current and future needs.

LTK staff oversaw the strategy development and the technical specification documentation required to modernize and replace the PRCS. This entailed completing in-depth stakeholder interviews, a detailed analysis of the existing parking operation processes, and an evaluation of available technologies along with detailed specification design options. These efforts culminated in the final technical specification.

Acting as an extension to Authority staff, LTK staff developed the Strategic Plan, Source Selection Plan, Instructions to Proposers and the Engineer’s Estimate. LTK performed a detailed industry review of the technical specification and led the negotiations for Best-And-Final-Offer (BAFO) and contract award.

LTK is currently overseeing the system supplier activities as the PRCS nears installation. LTK staff led the design review oversight process and will shortly lead the testing and acceptance phase of the implementation prior to the phased installation. Key implementation deliverables include deploying an online parking reservation system (the first US airport to do so) and a contactless bank and access smart card management functionality. The smart card functionality is Personal Identity Verification (PIV) and ISO-14443 Type A and B compatible offering the Airport patron new payment options for entry and exit.

LTK will complete the project closeout tasks and expects the installation to be completed to budget, delivering a successful system in 2012 that meets all requirements and enables Reagan National to provide airport patrons with a high quality, reliable and innovative parking solution.

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Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) 

CharlieCard Fare Collection System

LTK supported the MBTA, or the “T”, with the replacement of its aging fare collection equipment with a new, integrated, automated fare collection system to serve its subway, buses, light rail and commuter rail services.  The new Automated Fare Collection system employs fare gate consoles (four different types), fare vending machines (four different types), ticket office machines, electronic farebox, retail sales terminals, smart fare media, magnetic tickets and a comprehensive data collection and retrieval system that interfaces to the MBTA system infrastructure including an existing revenue reconciliation system. 

FC09-IMGSince 2000, LTK has held a key technical role on the consultant engineering team engaged by the “T” for system design, specification development, vendor evaluation, and system implementation by the selected proposer for new Automated Fare Collection system.

An important aspect of LTK’s work was to provide support for the engineering of the new AFC system’s fare media (functionality and design) and how this new media will be processed by each AFC device, for each type of service.  Based on the existing “T” fare media - which encompassed a large number of passes, tokens, cash, trip tickets and transfers – detailed fare matrices were developed which carefully identified all of the new and the existing fare media, detailing how each item is processed by each AFC device and how the integration of the fare media among the various transit mode services will occur.  The information contained in this matrix established the blueprint or platform on which the entire operation of the new AFC system is based. 

Testing activities performed by LTK included overseeing environmental testing as well as verifying first article functionality, system integration and network interfaces, as well as acceptance testing.  LTK has also provided oversight and management for the requested and/or required changes to this large complex project – from request for change through design evaluation and acceptance testing, including regression testing. 

LTK assisted MBTA with drafting and managing the completion of numerous change orders relating to technical changes, schedule changes and cost-related issues.

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Virginia Railway Express (VRE)

Proof-of-Payment Fare Collection System

Virginia Railway Express (VRE), a barrier-free commuter rail system serving Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, uses a fare collection system first deployed in the late-1990s. The agency’s fare policy is proof-of-payment (POP) on all trains, and customers must make purchases or have valid media prior to boarding. At all stations, cashless (credit/debit only) Ticket Vending Machines are available for ticket and pass purchases in addition to validation. Additionally, full-service Ticket Office Machines are in use at select locations in the service area. Tickets are visually inspected on-board trains by conductors.

VRE’s fare collection system needed a mid-life overhaul to improve reliability and to bring the system into full compliance with required Payment Card Industry’s (PCI) data security standards. VRE engaged LTK to assist in the technical review and testing of the upgraded equipment hardware and software, and to assist in deployment planning. LTK also reviewed updates to the central data system software, and continues to provide guidance, oversight, and document review for VRE’s PCI compliance efforts.

As VRE is a key regional partner for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), LTK is currently providing ongoing support for coordination with WMATA’s New Electronic Payments Program initiative to enhance the regional mobility experience.

Additionally, LTK is supporting VRE on a mobile ticketing initiative that will allow customers to use a mobile device as their fare media on VRE train. The mobile “app” will provide both ticketing and a variety of travel information services. The effort commenced with LTK providing information to VRE on mobile ticketing applications and usage within transit. After consideration of VRE’s next steps, VRE entered a procurement phase and LTK developed the technical requirements for the procurement documentation, as well as the price proposal forms and methodologies. LTK support continued through the vendor selection and award processes. LTK will continue to assist VRE through the design, testing and implementation phases.

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Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)

New Multi-Modal Fare Collection Systems

LTK Engineering Services is providing consultant services to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in a multi-year contract to replace its aging fare collection system with newer technology, while providing for the seamless integration of the new-start Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services.  The LTK contract has four phases: Evaluation of Alternatives, Implementation Planning, Design and Specification Preparation and Procurement, Installation and Test Support.    

FC11-IMGIn the first phase, LTK examined existing operations and fare policy, interviewed agency management, and conducted employee and customer focus groups to identify agency needs, objectives and priorities. We then worked with RTA to examine several system-wide alternatives and specific options related to each mode of transit.  By providing RTA with the analysis of costs and benefits, LTK helped the agency build a business case for procuring a new system that continues use of magnetic farecards for on-board sale of single-ride fares and day passes, and introduces smart cards for pre-paid fares.  Proof-of-payment fare collection is also introduced on the rail system and the new BRT line.

In Phase 2 of the project, LTK prepared a system description document that explains in a detailed, straightforward manner how the system will operate.  LTK also developed an implementation plan outlining tasks and responsibilities to guide the agency in preparing for the new system. 

The fare collection system was procured as two integrated components: in-station and onboard.  In Phase 3 of the project, LTK prepared the technical specifications, special terms and conditions, proposal instructions and evaluation guidelines for both contracts in order to ensure consistency among contract documents and to guide the agency in the contractor selection process.  Multiple proposals were received in response to each of the two fare system RFPs.  Evaluation and selection proceeded smoothly without issue, a testament to RFP document quality and clarity. 

Phase 4 commenced with award and subsequent notice to proceed for each contract.  To date, the initial system has been installed and tested, and is fully operational using magnetic stripe fare media.  The in-station and on-board fare systems are fully integrated with shared fare media and linked back-office systems.  Design, testing and implementation of the smart card system elements is expected to commence shortly.

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