Smart Transport Forum

The TCF was established by Smartex in 1997 at the request of the UK Department for Transport (DfT). It is a membership-based association open to all who are involved professionally with transport applications of smart cards and other smart customer media within the UK. The TCF is a forum where members and delegates from the public and private sector meet for discussion and mutual education relating to smart ticketing, smart payment, journey management and reporting, and to the underlying technologies supporting such applications.

Originally established to assist in enabling the implementation of integrated transport policies as set out in the 1998 UK government Integrated Transport White Paper, its role has been updated and strengthened with the publishing in 2009 of a specific government strategy for smart and integrated ticketing on public transport in England. There have been parallel developments in Wales and Scotland. The TCF meets in plenary sessions 4 times per year. Much of its work is carried out in Working Groups which address issues of the moment and report back to the TCF, often with recommendations for the DfT to consider.

What our members say: “Everyone who’s anyone in the transport industry is a member of The TCF” Mel Pashley, Ecebs “The TCF is uniquely valuable as it delivers instant access to the sector leaders and their wide-ranging knowledge. The Forum is tremendously useful for the DfT as it represents stakeholders in smart cards and in many related areas such as e-payment.” Eric Sampson, formerly Director of Vehicle Telematics, DfT

This Forum meets quarterly.  Meeting subjects are selected by the TCF Steering Group.  Amongst the topics and activities that we are likely to be addressing are:

  • Updates from the DfT and the devolved administrations for current and proposed smart ticketing and payment strategies
  • Establishment of TCF Working Groups for analysis and recommendations on topical issues
  • The continuing development of mobiles for transport applications such as journey planning, ticketing, boarding cards, payment and many other useful applications for travellers
  • The deployment of MaaS and its impact
  • Biometric techniques for public transport applications
  • Account-based ticketing (ABT) and its impact
  • Will the future bring a national account-based central system for transport payments?
  • Monitoring of initiatives and plans for commercial smart ticketing and payment
  • Developing effective Real-Time-Information systems
  • Smart and mobile ticketing and payment on National Rail
  • Exposing relevant technical issues and proposed solutions, for example for bus exit reading & ungated train stations
  • Using tokenisation technology to improve security
  • Pay-As-You-Go in urban areas – multi modal, multi operator, capping
  • Will tickets disappear?
  • Updates on the progress of the ITSO specifications, and of ITSO for Mobiles
  • cEMV contactless card technology and its evolving role in UK public transport
  • Do UK transport operators really want interoperability?
  • The how, where, when, why and what of TfN, and its interaction with other regional schemes
  • Improving the whole-journey experience with smart technology
  • Assessment of winners and losers in the transport contactless payment arena
  • Are beacons or BLE going to happen in transport?
  • QR code deployment is growing, especially in Rail – what is their future role?
  • Case studies from UK LA-controlled and commercial smart transport scheme operators
  • Case studies from overseas smart transport initiatives
  • What do different groups of passengers want?
  • Inclusion of “adjacent modes”: parking, taxi, bike hire, Demand Responsive Transport
  • The impact of good deployment and staff training
  • Commercial exploitation of transport data
  • The ongoing impact of changes in legislation and regulation
  • Ridership trends and strategies/tactics to address
  • The fate of small operators
  • Relevant global macro trends in transport
  • Impact of “disruptive players”: Google, Amazon, Apple
    1. How will the explosive growth of IoT affect our market?
    2. Smart cards could soon be superseded by mobiles, but how and when?
    3. Which comms technologies, such as NFC, QR Barcodes, BLE or iBeacons could dominate?
    4. What is the national strategy for commercial public transport payment systems?
    5. How will the new breed of challenger banks impact existing Schemes and banks?
    6. Who will win in the emerging micropayment, e-payment, prepaid and m-payment worlds?
    7. Who will win the m-wallet wars, and is there really a future for m-wallets?
    8. How can we absorb and benefit from the biometrics revolution?
    9. Will fingerprint readers be in the smartphone, in the point-of-service device, or both?
    10. When will smart campus schemes migrate to mobiles and adopt biometrics?

    Smartex Forums debate & seek answers to these and other pressing, highly topical issues.

    Since 1993, over 570 of our sector-specific meetings have attracted over 18,500 delegate-days of attendance, with over 2,150 specialist speakers covering the entire spectrum of smart cards, the smartphone revolution, IoT, biometrics, RFID tags, wearables and related technologies as applied to the main smart market areas.  With so many new technologies, applications and form factors on the near horizon, it’s hard to understand or even imagine our industry without Smartex meetings and networking.

    Several of our Forums have become sector-specific, especially for transport ticketing and payment, for University and College smart campus schemes, and for the FinTech market. The newest Forum, IoTA, addresses the huge emerging opportunities relating to the little-understood Internet of Things.  We constantly modify the scope of our Forums to accommodate the ever-changing smart reality.   

    During 2018, some 550 different individuals attended our meetings, representing nearly 300 organizations.  Worldwide membership, covering our affiliated associations in Asia Pacific and Central Eastern Europe, exceeds 220 companies from all parts of our industry.  Networking, and doing business with fellow members and other delegates, not only in the UK but also through our affiliated Forums overseas, is therefore yet another real benefit of membership.

    Annual membership fees, which have not risen for several years, can be as low as £1,100 – for 4 full-day attendances and a wide range of other useful services – which makes £1,000+ for a one-day public conference look pretty expensive.  Can you afford not to be part of this influential group at the heart of these fast-moving and volatile technologies so vital in the new e- and m-worlds?

    Join Us Now

    Members have access to restricted content.

    To access presentations from past meetings of our forums, click on the links below:



    Smart Payments Forum

    Mobile & Identity Forum

    Internet of Things Association

    International Biometrics Forum – coming soon

    Delegates’ Area

    Delegates have access to presentations from the latest Smartex meeting.

    Delegate Presentations

    • January 2019.

      Three WGs have been set up:

      WG27 – Smart Integration for Whole Journeys

      WG28 – Developing a compelling Public Transport journey experience for tomorrow’s generation of travellers

      WG29 – Maximising the Value of PT-Generated Data

      If you are interested in participating in any of these, please contact