NFC technology not sufficient for the London Underground

NFC Security

NFC Security

Transport for London shies away from NFC technology

The London Underground is one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world. The Underground provides United Kingdom citizens with public transportation services that are often considered quick and efficient. With daily service in the realm of 3 million a day, Transport for London (TfL), the operators of the transportation system, constantly look for ways to make the Underground more efficient for travels. Recently, TfL has been experimenting with NFC technology in the hopes of accomplishing this goal.

Technology not capable of meeting the TfL standards

With the 2012 Olympic Games scheduled to begin this month, TfL had hoped that its use of NFC technology would help streamline the Underground and make it more accommodating to foreign visitors. This may not be the case, however, as TfL customer experience director Shashi Verma suggests that the technology is simply not capable of expediting the Underground’s ticketing services. The TfL has conducted two studies of the technology, once in 2008 and again in 2010, and has found that NFC technology is not capable to handle the organization’s demands.


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NFC transactions too slow for London Underground

According to Verma, NFC ticketing stations are not capable of facilitating transactions in under 500 milliseconds. This is the standard at which the TfL often determines the viability of ticketing and commerce systems. The organizations concerns lie solely with the capabilities of NFC technology, and not the devices or systems that make use of it. Verma notes that advances made to NFC technology could encourage the TfL to make use of it in the future, after the Olympic Games have passed.

Advances in NFC technology may encourage its adoption in the future

For the time being, the London Underground will stick to its conventional ticketing system, which makes use of RFID technology. The organization notes that the technology standards currently governing NFC technology are not adequate enough for it to implement an NFC-based ticketing system in 2012 or 2013.

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