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Automated Fare Collection

Automated Fare Collection (AFC)

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, DC
SmarTrip® Program Consultant

The SmarTrip Program is the AFC Program for WMATA that uses smart cards as seamless fare media throughout the area served by the agencies participating in the Regional SmarTrip Partnership. Acumen’s main responsibilities are to ensure delivery of the SmarTrip and Fare Payment System Program in a timely, responsible, and efficient manner. Acumen’s program manager has developed the scheduling, recommends schedule adjustments, assists in providing program staffing, and manages development of technical specifications and program documents. Staff assisted WMATA in developing a business rules document. Acumen also developed a Program Plan document for the Project Team’s use to manage and guide implementation of the project and ensure the team follows the same set of processes and procedures. Additional responsibilities include providing an up-to-date AFC-centric system diagram, developing technical specifications and procurement documentation, and system testing as necessary.

Acumen has played an integral role in the internal WMATA testing and certification of the Cubic Single Platform Solution program. Acumen’s experienced team of testers with multi-dimensional backgrounds has provided WMATA with staffing resources to augment current test efforts. The vast experience that Acumen provides not only supports WMATA staff, but also provides expertise gained from multiple AFC programs around the country. Acumen staff has designed and written the WMATA Automatic Fare Collection Test Plan, performed system and software acceptance testing, identified significant software design/configuration issues, and coordinated all test efforts aimed at achieving full contract compliance with AFC Program requirements. WMATA is using the comprehensive set of documents to establish a basis for Cubic contract acceptance and as a working set of documents for future testing of changes in software and equipment designs. The experience Acumen is providing allows WMATA to implement this large, important program over time without any significant increase in internal staffing levels. Other important milestones: Acumen worked with WMATA staff to develop an Acceptance Criteria document for the DASH Pass Pilot program in Alexandria, VA. The criteria document listed all operating features of the DASH pass.

Acumen has also assisted with the development of proposal specifications for the selection of website developers and Interactive Voice Response vendors, and has extensively reviewed Cubic’s existing application protocol interfaces for compatibility and use within the SmarTrip® system. In addition, staff has provided feedback on WMATA’s pending IRS compliance issues for pre-tax employer fringe benefits issued on the SmarTrip® card. Acumen continues to provide feedback on the potential implementation of Open Payment systems, including identifying design problems, and makes recommendations to the AFC Program on design improvements.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, CA
TransLink® Engineering and Installation Oversight

TransLink is an automated fare collection (AFC) program centered on smart-card technology, accepted for fare payment by Bay Area Transit operators for both intra/inter operator trips. As a member of the Engineering Oversight Team, Acumen provided expertise in claims management and dispute resolution. The firm also performed equipment installation and construction oversight for the AFC program. On June 16, 2010, TransLink became ClipperSM, and the AFC system is fully operational on five transit agencies: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Muni, and Golden Gate Transit and Ferry.

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), Oakland, CA
Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) Modernization Program

Acumen was responsible for providing the following professional services for the AFC Modernization Program: prototype design review, plastic ticket implementation, field inspection and installation support, AFC system capacity analysis, field engineering support for site preparation activities, engineering support for a new currency machine for San Francisco International Airport expansion, technical support for the evaluation of cash handling operations, and development and implementation of high-speed ticket encoders. Acumen also developed a comprehensive Limited Use Smart Card specification, an Encryption Key Management Procedure for Smart Cards, and a procedure for quality assurance/quality control for smart cards. Acumen was involved with the procurement, contract administration, construction management, and claims management of the AFC equipment at 39 stations. The equipment included ticket vending machines, add fare machines, and gate renovation. Acumen also implemented new smart card technology for BART.

In addition to this work, Acumen was also responsible for the development and maintenance of BART’s Bill-to-Bill Changer.

  • Bill-to-Bill Changer Equipment Specification: Acumen researched financial institutions, equipment manufacturers, and vendors throughout the U.S. and Europe to identify product manufacturers. Staff developed an equipment prototype for BART’s new Bill-to-Bill Changer and provided integration support for equipment introduction into the existing data network.
  • Bill-to-Bill Changer Procurement: Acumen established the requirements, features, location, and quantities needed to provide Bill-to-Bill Changers at 39 BART stations. The firm developed specifications for procurement of Bill-to-Bill Changers and evaluated components. Post procurement activities included revenue service testing, acceptance testing, and resolving problems with the manufacturer.
  • Bill-to-Bill Changer Development: Acumen developed Bill-to-Bill Changer software code and documentation in accordance with BART’s standards. Staff designed the messaging set and network communications interface for the Bill-to-Bill Changer to comply with BART’s Vending Equipment Interface protocol. Acumen engineers provided hardware development and component specifications for the Bill-to-Bill Changer; developed a server for the Bill-to-Bill Changer and software interfaces for Treasury, Accounting, and Police departments; Acumen also developed Bill-to-Bill Changer documentation for station agents, treasury technicians, and fare collection technicians.
  • Bill-to-Bill Changer Maintenance: As prime consultant on this project, Acumen provided a year of maintenance and repair service to 64 Bill-to-Bill Changers located at train stations throughout the BART system. The firm was responsible for all repair service calls as well as periodic maintenance and cleaning of all Bill-to-Bill Changers. Acumen’s technical staff provided diagnostics and component testing services and installed Bill-to-Bill Changer replacement units. The scope of services included maintaining a spare-parts inventory and service/parts logs, and preparing incident reports that provided a description of any error codes, event codes, and diagnostic messages.

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, San Rafael, CA
Golden Gate Ferry Automated Fare Collection (AFC) System Procurement Support

Acumen Building Enterprise, Inc. was brought on to provide systems procurement support for an upgrade to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District’s (the District) outdated fare collection system for adaptation into the ClipperSM regional smart card system. Acumen is performing systems engineering, construction management, cost estimating, technical report writing, and best practice product research services for the District under Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

Acumen’s key services include, but are not limited to: assess and troubleshoot the existing point-of-sale ticketing system to resolve speed and data system issues; review connectivity issues and provide recommendations on increasing transaction speed and clearinghouse issues; conduct a data system and inter-hub connectivity assessment, provide recommendations on system and connectivity adequacy, and suggest potential upgrades; prepare recommendations of capital improvement upgrades for presentation to Board; conduct field assessments and prepare construction estimates for fare collection site preparation, installation, materials, and labor for fare collection system upgrades; review and perform field site layouts for patron flow and Americans with Disabilities compliance; prepare drawings and flow diagrams for future plan, specification, and contractor bid documents; and provide site preparation and construction management, quality assurance, and system testing oversight during equipment installation and beta testing period.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro),
Los Angeles, CA
Regional Transit Access Pass (TAP) Service Center

Acumen is a part of a team responsible for the implementation and ongoing operation of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Transit Access Pass (TAP) Service Center. Acumen is providing the services and resources required to deploy, install, and maintain compact point-of-sale (CPOS) terminals for TAP card sales and value-load activity. Acumen staff is responsible for the installation and deployment of CPOS terminals throughout Metro’s service area. Staff identifies technical requirements, performs site visits, and develops and deliver training programs. Acumen technicians are also responsible for performing on-site troubleshooting, which involves configuring equipment and testing various “fixes” from Metro. Acumen acts as a liaison between vendor locations and the TAP Service Center, answering questions regarding the TAP program and scheduling installation activities.

In addition, Acumen technicians are responsible for programming all CPOS equipment with the correct fare structures, as well as assigning CPOS equipment to the appropriate third-party vendor in the back-end data collection and administration software. Currently, Acumen’s technicians update and maintain almost all CPOS-related information in Cubic’s Nextfare back-end software.Acumen has deployed over 700 CPOS units in the greater Los Angeles area, and has supported Metro with its Nextfare 5 regional system rollout.

City of Phoenix, AZ
City of Phoenix Bus Fare Box Installation

Acumen assisted Scheidt & Bachmann with the installation of over 700 fare boxes in buses operated by the City of Phoenix. Acumen staff developed the quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program tailored specifically to meet the unique demands of this project. The QA/QC program ensured that plans and specifications clearly defined the hardware, software, documentation, and training necessary to implement the project in a cost-effective and time-sensitive manner. Acumen staff was present at the production facility and on-site to monitor farebox equipment and systems post-installation, and to perform pre-revenue service testing and systems validation.

Miami-Dade County Transit Program, Miami, FL
Management Consulting Services for the Implementation of the People’s Transportation Plan

As a member of the program management consulting team, Acumen led the technical consulting for Miami-Dade Transit’s Universal Automated Fare Collection System. Acumen staff assisted in the development of the specification and Request for Proposal, evaluated bidder questions, contributed to a license agreement, and assisted Miami-Dade Transit in developing its system architecture.

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), Oakland, CA
Production of TransLink® Operator and Maintenance Training Modules and Reference Guides

Acumen conducted a review and assessment of AC Transit operations relative to TransLink onboard equipment performance and availability. The review and assessment concluded that personnel training, first-line maintenance control, and comprehensive reference guides for bus operators would have a positive impact on TransLink performance. MTC then produced training modules and reference guides as appropriate for all TransLink equipment: Driver Console, Card/Patron Interface Device, Toggle Switch, Add Value Machine, and Ticket Office Terminal. Acumen assisted in the production of training modules, a defect report checklist, and a quick-reference guide by providing content, script, layout, as well as consulting on the finished product to the MTC video and print production consultant.