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Business Models for Mobile Fare Apps (2020)

Chapter: Glossary

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Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Business Models for Mobile Fare Apps. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25798.
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Page 67
Page 68
Suggested Citation:"Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Business Models for Mobile Fare Apps. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25798.
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Page 68

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67 Glossary Account-based System This is a system for transit fare payment in which the fare medium associates the transit rider with information held in an account. Fare value is not carried on the fare medium, which is typical of card-based systems, but rather, it is saved in a separate account. Fare processing is performed in the transit system’s back office to ensure that the rider’s personal information is secure. Activation The process of making a mobile fare payment product valid for a certain period of time. Android An open-source operating system used for smartphones and tablets. Application Programming Interface (API) A set of protocols or tools for building software applications. APIs allow two applications to talk with one another. Capping The transit agency caps the maximum amount a rider can pay in a given period. For daily capping, riders never pay more than the total cost of a day pass. Configuration In software development, configuration generally requires less work than customization and typically uses existing tools to meet specific requirements without new code. Customization In software development, customization typically requires more effort than configuration and often involves writing new code to meet specific requirements. Deep Link A method to help users navigate between applications. Deep links often use a uniform resource identifier (URI) to link to a specific location outside an application. Fare Capping The transit agency specifies the maximum fare paid over a specific time period such as a month. Fare capping may replace period passes. Fare Product What customers purchase to use specific transit services. A fare product may be used once, such as a single ride ticket, or several times, such as a period pass that is good for unlimited use over a specified time period. Fare Media The instrument(s) accepted by a transit agency that grants riders access to transit services. Examples include cash, tokens, tickets, smart cards, and mobile devices. iOS The trademarked name for an operating system for mobile devices from Apple, Inc. iPhone A smartphone made by Apple, Inc., that runs the iOS operating system. Mobile Application (App) A software application developed specifically for use on small, elec- tronic devices (such as smartphones), as opposed to desktop or laptop computers. Mobile applications typically require a wireless connection. Mobile applications are typically down- loaded from app distribution platforms, such as Google Play for Android devices or the Apple App Store for iOS devices, which are operated by the owner of the mobile operating system.

68 Business Models for Mobile Fare Apps Mobile Fare Payment Application (App) A software application on a smartphone or other small electronic device that allows transit riders to pay for and access public transit services. Apps are typically downloaded from Google Play for Android devices or the Apple App Store for iOS devices. Mobile Payment Paying for a product or service using a portable electronic device such as a smartphone or tablet. Mobile Ticketing Application (App) This is a synonym for mobile fare payment app. Mobile Wallet An application that stores payment card information on a mobile device; the mobile device can then be used to make purchases. Examples include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Personal transportation options purchased from a service provider instead of relying on personally owned vehicles. The services may be provided by public and by private transportation operators, ideally through a unified gateway to order, manage, and pay for trips. Near Field Communication (NFC) NFC technology utilizes radio frequency communication to exchange data over short distances. When used for transit fare payment, an NFC chip in a phone can be “tapped” by transit users at fare gates or other barriers. Online Activation A cellular network or Wi-Fi connection is required to activate a mobile fare payment product. Offline Activation A cellular network or Wi-Fi connection is not required to activate a mobile fare payment product. Open Payment System A fare payment system that is able to accept third-party payment media, such as bankcards. This type of fare payment system relies on open industry interface standards and specifications. Quick Response (QR) Code A machine readable code, typically displayed on a smartphone screen, that consists of an array of white and black squares that are used to store a URL or other information. Short Message Service (SMS) A service available on most mobile phones that uses standardized communication protocols to exchange short text messages. Software as a Service (SaaS) A distribution model in which software is accessed online and provided via a subscription, as opposed to bought and installed on individual devices. Software Development Kit (SDK) A set of tools, libraries, documentation, code samples, and guides that allow software developers to create applications on a specification platform. Typically, SDKs contain one or more APIs. Uniform Resource Locator (URL) A web address, which typically begins with “http.” Validation In systems for transit fare payment, this refers to the process or method used to ensure that fare products are not fraudulent or expired. Virtual Card A virtual card is linked to a payment account (e.g., an account associated with a credit card or a transit card), but it does not require the physical card to make purchases. A virtual card can be stored in a mobile wallet, such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay. White Label A product or service supplied by one company that is rebranded to make it appear as if it were made by another company or organization (in this case, the transit provider).

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Five different business models for mobile fare payment apps are examined, as the world of apps used by transit agencies in the United States and Canada continues to steadily grow.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Synthesis 148: Business Models for Mobile Fare Apps documents current practices and experiences of transit agencies that offer mobile fare payment applications to transit riders.

The report includes case examples from six cities: Santa Monica, Denver, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, and Ontario, Canada.

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