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transportation training and education

Electronic Payments Systems (EPS)

Length: Approximately four hours.


This overview of Electronic Payment systems is focused on the areas of applications, EPS architecture and components, and electronic media characteristics. Public Transit, Road Tolling, Parking, and Multipurpose applications are discussed in the first section, and followed by a brief review of the most important security criteria relevant to EPS. The next segment, on EPS architecture and components, addresses the topics of cards and their characteristics, reader types and functions, open and closed networks, the major functions of the host-system, and introduces the concept of the clearinghouse. The major types of electronic media are described in detail in the following section. Finally, two examples of EPS deployments are discussed with emphasis on the technologies used and effectiveness in reaching their respective objectives.


At the conclusion of these two modules the students should be able to:

  • Describe the major issues and problems which electronic payment systems (EPSs) on public transit, toll road, and parking facilities are typically intended to address.
  • Give examples of the anticipated benefits and other impacts associated with EPS implementation on public transit, toll roads, and parking facilities.
  • Provide examples of typical system requirements which EPSs on public transit, toll roads and parking facilities are often designed to meet.
  • Describe public transit, parking, and toll road EPS applications including a description of system objectives and technological characteristics (e.g. centralized vs distributive architecture; on-line vs off-line processing; wire and wireless communication features)
  • Distinguish between EPS media types including paper tickets, magnetic stripe cards, contact and contactless chip cards, and hybrid cards.
  • Explain the importance and role of a clearinghouse in the implementation of an EPS and why perhaps a clearinghouse may be essential in the implementation of some EPSs.



Dr. John Collura & Dr.Valeri Plotnikov 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute

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