Project overview

This part of the project involves concrete steps towards an integrated ticketing framework for cross-border rail traffic. By offering attractive ticketing models, more and more people will abandon their cars and use public transport. Closely related to ticketing is the marketing of new ticketing and tariff measures.

Innovative aspects

  • Part of the new regional rail concession of the Dutch Province of Limburg is the interoperability of Dutch and German chip cards on the corridor between Aachen and Heerlen for the new service Maastricht–Heerlen–Aachen. The reading devices on board have to read both the German and the Dutch chip cards. The new concession starts at the end of 2016 and is valid for 15 years.
  • Reading Buses was an early adopter of pre-pay smartcards. Furthermore, since the early 2000s Reading offered real-time passenger information. With support from RoCK, the smartcard system has been updated to full ITSO compatibility. RoCK also supported the new new state-of-the-art ticket machines, which also have the ability to act as on-board automatic vehicle location (AVL) units for the Real Time Passenger Information System (RTPI).
  • RoCK funded the initial stages of a comprehensive Personalised Travel Planning (PTP) campaign in Reading, which then enabled the city to subsequently obtain governmental funding for much wider coverage. PTP is a process of one-to-one conversations between travel advisors and members of the public on travel choices. Conversations took place in homes and at places of employment. Ultimately the PTP campaign reached over 21,000 people across Reading. Surveys and focus groups showed that over a third of conversations at places of employment resulted in at least one change to a journey to be more sustainable. PTP was generally received very positively – also by employers, a number of whom were originally reticent to have travel advisors in their offices during working hours.


  • Tickets for cross-border travel were initiated along the Aachen–Eindhoven corridor: the “Studierenden Ticket” that allows students in Germany to travel across the border into the Netherlands, and the Floriade ticket, which covered cross-border travel from Germany into the Netherlands for the Floriade horticultural show in 2012. Marketing campaigns were initiated to promote these offerings.
  • The Aachener Verkehrsverbund held negotiations with Belgian railways (NMBS/SNCF) to include Aachen in the NMBS/SNCF fare schedule.
  • The euregioticket is one-day ticket valid for travel in the Meuse–Rhine area and covers busses and trains in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Through efforts of the RoCK partners, the validity area of the euregioticket was expanded to include Roermond. As such, the euregioticket now covers an important part of the cross-border corridor Eindhoven–Aachen and reduces the complexity of different tariffs between Germany and the Netherlands.
  • A multilingual passenger platform containing multimodal travel information was set up for the Meuse–Rhine region.
  • Through RoCK, Reading Borough Council were able to launch a high-quality open-data service, not only including live bus data, but also live car park data, highway journey time data, road works, etc. Bus passengers are able to access real-time public transport data through traditional websites and at signs at bus stops and in other public locations; through the Real Time Passenger Information System (RTPI) supplier’s own app; and through other local and national apps. In addition, a link to the national rail open data allows bus passengers to see live rail and platform information on the in-bus screens as they approach Reading station.
  • To make payment more flexible, Reading Buses has used RoCK funds to help develop its EMV contactless payment capability. EMV is rapidly gaining use in retail for smaller purchases in the UK and across Europe. 
  • A great deal of knowledge was gained during the course of the project, which has been compiled into a list of recommendations for transport operators and authorities:

    List of recommendations

    • Create guidelines on a European level, so that only one ticket for cross-border public transport connections is required. This can be done by: placing an additional cross-border tariff system on top of national/regional systems without interfering with the domestic tariff systems, e.g. euregioticket; expanding one of the tariff systems into a neighbouring member state; or merging two neighbouring tariff systems at the border and creating cross-border tariffs in accordance with the respective national tariff system combining the above methods.
    • Make tickets in border regions available to citizens from all member states. Problems are created by national subsidy systems for certain groups. If one member state decides to financially support groups such as pupils, students, apprentices or people with reduced mobility, they should grant them direct state aid instead of indirect aid via public transport tariffs. Doing so would avoid the creation of extra tariffs.
    • Introduce standardisation for ticket machines so that travellers can purchase international (regional) tickets using a credit card and in multiple languages.
    • Introduce ticketing schemes that are interoperable for cross-border travel.
    • Establish the mobile phone as an EU-wide public transport ticket carrier for cross-border travel.
    • Establish standards for real-time multimodal travel information and oblige operators in other countries to share their real-time data. Doing so will allow pre-trip and on-trip information to be used also in cross-border travel.


  • Cross-border tickets such as the Studierenden Ticket and the Floriade ticket can be offered for other cross-border regions.
  • The new regional rail concession for the Dutch Province of Limburg calls for interoperability of Dutch and German chip cards on the corridor between Aachen and Heerlen for the new service Maastricht–Heerlen–Aachen. For other long-term cross-border connections, ticketing can be simplified by introducing similar requirements for interoperability into the contract.
  • Offering tickets for cross-border travel requires that transport authorities work with one another constructively. A model of collaboration: negotiations between the Aachener Verkehrsbund and the Belgian railways (NMBS/SNCF) to include Aachen in the NMBS/SNCF tariff schedules.
  • The interoperability of Dutch and German smartcards on the corridor between Aachen and Heerlen can be extended to other cross-border corridors.
  • EMV as installed on Reading Buses for contactless payment is an option for other transport providers to offer a simple way to pay fares.
  • Open data services such as those introduced in Reading enrich the travel experience for all stakeholders and help increase user numbers.
  • Personalised Travel Planning (PTP) as carried out in Reading encourages passengers to use public transport.

Project ended December 2015