City of Columbus to Test All-in-One Transport Payment System

Siemens Mobility and Bytemark – a Siemens Mobility partially-owned subsidiary – are going to work with the City of Columbus to create a “common payment” platform that will allow users to pay for both public and private mobility services using a single account-based payment system integrated into the city’s “Smart Columbus” travel app.

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“The beauty of such a system is that you can plan – and pay for – your trips more holistically now,” explained Michael Stevens, the city’s chief innovation officer, in a statement.

“Instead of checking to see which mode is faster, you can actually map out the fastest multi-mode route – utilizing any/all modes of public and private transportation, including bicycles, scooters, buses, and ride-hailing – and then pay for it all just once at the end,” he pointed out. “This solution truly brings first mile-last mile solutions into the hands of the consumer.”

“Smart Columbus” is a joint initiative of the City and Columbus partnership, which is using government grants and private investment to create a “living lab” of mobility projects to improve the region’s transportation system, Stevens added; efforts that aim to develop a working plan and playbook for other metro areas to follow.

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“Mobility integration is the key to providing greater access to a higher quality of life,” added Joanna Pinkerton, president and CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority. “Bringing multiple modes of transportation together and providing a way to pay for an entire trip on one platform, is paramount to bringing innovation and efficiency in the way we provide more access to jobs, education and health care in our communities.”

One scenario where commuters could benefit is traffic congestion along their typical commute home, explained Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility. With this new all-in-one app, they can identify whether bus, train or Lyft would be faster and then see how those or other options – bicycle or scooter – can take them home for that final mile. Once they choose the optimal route, they can pay for the entire trip at one time, he said.

“Intermodal transportation is making the lives of passengers all over the world simpler and more efficient,” Peter added. “Through one application riders can both book and pay for their tickets across multiple modes of transportation.”

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