UK government is urged to invest in new transport payment technologies

The Oyster smartcard could eventually be phased out

The Oyster smartcard could eventually be phased out by other intelligent transport systems, such as contactless payment technology. This ‘pay and wave’ technology went live at the end of 2012. Other payment methods could also include paying the congestion charge via the internet and using a fob to use the Serco bike hire scheme. Concerns have been raised that, outside of London, local authorities have not realised the benefits of these technologies to simplify transport systems.

A roundtable event, held by the Guardian in association with Centro, (the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority), and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, was held in December. The panel agreed that these technologies have a significant role to play.

IT solutions could be used to reduce congestion which costs the economy around GBP 8 billion a year, according to CBI. This would in turn be better for the environment, and the UK is currently missing a number of EU pollution limits. Another benefit of the smartcards would be the recording of passenger data, to help analyse and improve on existing services and provide more information to users.

Many experts are encouraging the government to introduce a package of measures in a bid to improve the uptake of public transport, lower congestion and improve traffic safety and lower pollution levels.

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