Smart Objects will Revolutionise Transport

Cambridge, UK, January 2002 – The application of smart objects in transport looks set to revolutionise the way we use transport, according to Smart Transport: smart tickets, cards and labels for land, sea and air transport, a new report from IDTechEx, the independent authority on the development and application of low cost RFID technologies. (

These small portable devices usually contain a microchip and antenna and can be electronically interrogated through or round obstructions, at high speed and with great accuracy. They can be carried by passengers or staff or fitted on vehicles, trolleys, freight, baggage and assets.

This comprehensive report analyses the trends of these emerging smart technologies and their impact on land, sea and air transport. Case histories and company profiles from across the world illustrate the uses of smart objects in transport and the many forms of payback. Singapore Mass Transit System have replaced magnetic cards with contactless smart cards for passengers, greatly lowering costs through an increase in reliability. It has also improved speed of passenger handling and reduced fare fraud and costs to the customer. San Francisco International Airport has improved security and efficiency with smart baggage tags.

Smart objects will change the transportation industry and current applications include, a smart card system for bus ticketing which reduces fraud by at least 66%; improvements in fleet management; automated vehicle ID to automate tolling, theft control and policing of tax, insurance etc; cash replacement; cost reduction; and data collection.

“There is growth in the transport industry,” says the report’s principal author, Dr Peter Harrop. “The air industry is returning to long term growth and the number of cars in the world will double in twenty years.” Dr Harrop continues, “Smart objects reduce queues, improve records, increase system optimisation and most importantly in the current climate, increase security – travel becomes easier, so more people travel.” Expansion plans can be seen at the Paris bus/train system that will need 100 million of the new smart tickets per year and the Venice transport system that will need 20 million – definite signs of a growing industry. Contactless smart cards will also be bought in large numbers, with London, Paris and Tokyo requiring 80 million between them and China committed to buying over 870 million. Smart tagging of assets, baggage and freight will become commonplace to reduce crime and costs, improve facilitation and provide new earning streams. These will sell in billions. Transportation companies and their suppliers must keep abreast of what is happening and what comes next.

Dr Harrop, explains that the replacement of bus and train tickets is a killer application for contactless smart cards, with sales of these cards rising from 125m in 2002 to 500m in 2010. “The applications and benefits are now extremely varied, with rapid paybacks and new earning streams being commonplace.”

This report is essential reading for members of the transportation industry seeking to maximise their service; suppliers who need to anticipate future markets; regulators and researchers seeking a greater understanding of this expanding and evolving market; consultants and investors looking for opportunities; and manufacturers wishing to identify the latest services and technologies.

The report is by Dr Peter Harrop and a team of IDTechEx staff and associates, all globally acknowledged experts in the industry. For more information, telephone IDTechEx on +44 (0)1223 813703 or email

Media Contact

Corinne Jennings
IDTechEx Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1223 813703