MIPTA is a new specification for the transport sector. It stands for Mobile Interface for Public Transport Assets, and has the purpose of standardising the way public transport assets are identified by smart devices. A public transport asset could be any object, street furniture, or vehicle that transport operators and local authorities might want to uniquely identify, such as a bus, bus stop, tram, gate line, individual gate, ticket machine or any other item which forms an integral part of a transport system or facilitates its use by citizens. MIPTA is concerned with the interface between these assets (“tagged” by some electronic means) and mobile phones, so that a mobile user’s app can correctly and uniquely identify an asset for the purpose of making a journey or undertaking operational actions.
The MIPTA specification aims to:
- Provide maximum interoperability
- Be open to any transport application
- Protect passengers’ privacy and security
- Be technology agnostic; technologies included in the first release are NFC tags, QR codes and Bluetooth Smart Beacons (“BLE” or “iBeacon”)
Why does this matter? The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept is widely expected to significantly alter the relationship between the citizen and the consumption of multi-mobility products. In a MaaS world, instead of assets being owned and used by only one party, multiple customer propositions could use the same asset. It would be inefficient for each service provider to establish its own registry of assets and have to define how these are accessed. The challenge is how to create high-performance service packages from existing and future services. MIPTA is intended to facilitate such changes through agreements on common interface design and data standards for public transport assets.
So MIPTA allows: Any asset, recorded in Any Asset Register, identified by Any Technology to be uniquely identified by Any Smartphone.
The MIPTA Working Group was set up, encouraged by government and transport industry bodies, which did not want to see a proliferation of multiple, incompatible proprietary technologies in a future world. Industry players such as ITSO, operators, and membership organisations made their contributions. Most of the technical drafting was carried out by touché and Urban Things. MIPTA is an open specification, which is available to use on a royalty free basis.
The MIPTA specification is in two parts:
- Part 1 covers Data Formats and Exchange. It defines the way identifiers to such assets are structured, stored and electronically exchanged between electronic devices and systems. This can facilitate the use of data by many parties in an interoperable way, which in turn will allow companies and organisations to develop customer solutions using those assets placed in real world environments without the need to duplicate infrastructure.
- Part 2 covers the Asset Registry Service. It defines the way detailed information about assets is retrieved from a registry of owner and asset information. Providing an interface to retrieve detailed information about owners and assets allows multiple organisations to produce useful functionality using the asset identifiers which form part of MIPTA.
The MIPTA format allows for a decentralised registry by allowing multiple registrars. Details of the registrar are included in the format which allows users to communicate with the registrar using the interface defined in the MIPTA document. We have worked to ensure MIPTA sits comfortably within existing standards, and is aligned with existing asset registries, such as national railways codes (NLC), bus stop numbering (NaPTAN), EN 2870: “Identification of Fixed Objects in Public Transport (IFOPT)”, and others.
From a standards point of view, the aim now is to work with standardisation organisations such as CEN to see MIPTA form the basis of a wider standardised ecosystem for public transport systems. We have referenced a CEN Technical Report in the MIPTA specification: CEN/TR 17311: Public transport – Interoperable fare management system – Bluetooth low energy ticketing use cases and guidelines. CEN members have been kept appraised of the work of the MIPTA Working Group, and this is continuing now the specification has been agreed.
The MIPTA specification is not completely prescriptive and there will need to be implementation choices, based on real world environments. For solution providers, we welcome the opportunity to work together to deploy MIPTA-compliant services, and to develop execution expertise.
touché (www.touche-nfc.com) offers a range of interactive mobile solutions, including:
- Beacon and NFC support for Transport Operators
- Parking and Smart Cities
- Location Based Marketing
- Bluetooth Smart and NFC Business and Technical Consultancy
For further information, including copies of the specification, contact touché: Trevor Crotch-Harvey – firstname.lastname@example.org