A Comparison of Transit Mobile Ticketing Applications in the United States and Europe

Many transit agencies have recently deployed mobile ticketing applications (apps) to let passengers purchase tickets on their smartphones, and many of these apps now include additional features beyond ticketing. Because this is an area of rapid change in the transit industry, this qualitative research aims to document and compare the current state of transit mobile ticketing in America and Europe. Case studies were conducted by downloading publicly available transit apps.The following five American regions were chosen for this research: Portland, Boston, Austin, Chicago, and New Jersey. Similarly, five European regions were chosen: Vienna, Rome, Frankfurt, Stockholm, and Edinburgh. The apps were compared on various dimensions, including the features in the app, use of location services, and the privacy policy. This comparison led to a number of key findings. First, transit apps in the United States and Europe are similar in terms of the overall app structure and functionality.Second, the most common features beyond ticketing found in many transit apps are trip planners, real-time vehicle location information, and transit service alerts. Third, numerous transit apps use ‘location services’ to detect the user’s location, and this is primarily to assist riders in finding the nearby stops and stations, such as for trip planning and vehicle location features. Fourth, the privacy policies in some of the European apps stated the reasons for detecting the location of the user. The results of this case study analysis can help other transit agencies who are considering deploying or improving their mobile ticketing apps.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AP000 Public Transportation Group.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Ali, Nahla
    • Touret, Marion
    • Brakewood, Candace
    • Paaswell, Robert
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2017


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 19p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 96th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01623291
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 17-00727
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 24 2017 3:31PM