Payment integration efforts should focus on committed, engaged stakeholders and work to minimize the complexity of coordination to avoid cumbersome governance issues.
The recommendations, created for an effort to integrate payments across agencies in New Orleans, emphasized the need for flexibility and incremental change to mitigate risk.
Made Public Date


New Orleans, Louisiana,
United States

Achieving Regional Fare Integration in New Orleans: Innovative Cost Sharing Arrangements and Technologies


The Southwest Region University Transportation Center carried out a study on behalf of the United States Department of Transportation to evaluate approaches to regional transit fare integration in order to apply it in New Orleans.

The New Orleans area has long been served by multiple transit agencies, and travelers have accordingly needed to navigate conflicting fare structures and inflated prices. The purpose of the study was to synthesize best practices and lessons learned from both historical attempts at integration in the area and from contemporary efforts across the country. To this end, the researchers examined the history of regional fare integration in New Orleans, performed a literature review of the broader field, and examined three recent case studies of agencies from across the country. They used their findings to inform both a list of lessons learned from other fare integration efforts and to create a brief list of recommendations for a specific path forwards for the New Orleans area.

Lessons Learned

The report highlighted the following as lessons learned:

  • All stakeholders should be committed to and have an investment in successful coordination
  • While adding stakeholders increases the potential for improved customer benefits, it is important to weigh such benefits against the substantial increase in organizational complexity
  • Lead stakeholders should be institutional champions to provide necessary direction during the integration implementation process
  • Remaining flexible and developing contingency plans for unexpected events are essential
  • Incremental steps are highly effective compared to an "everything at once" mentality
  • Peer communication--with transit agencies that have successfully integrated services and fares--can facilitate the identification of both benefits and challenges
  • Managing costs is a key concern for many agencies looking to integrate fare payments. Lower revenue and new costs can be mitigated by increased ridership and other system cost decreases.
  • System upgrades should use existing technology where possible to reduce costs.