Orlando Regional Alliance for Next Generation Electronic Payment Systems (ORANGES) Evaluation Final Report: Electronic Payment Systems Field Operational Test
In 2000, the U.S. DOT awarded a Field Operational Test (FOT) grant to a group of public sector agencies located in the Orlando region. The project was titled Orlando Regional Alliance for Next Generation Electronic Payment Systems, or ORANGES. The US DOT was interested in identifying and evaluating issues associated with establishing partnerships between public transportation service providers and other transportation agencies, in developing and using multiple-application electronic payment systems that included smart card technology. The FOT requirements were specifically designed to test a payment system that could support a variety of payment applications, at a minimum including transit fare collection, parking payment, and electronic toll collection.
The FOT was a limited scale demonstration that included:
- A single card that could be loaded with multiple payment applications.
- A transit component - two bus routes.
- A toll component - selected lanes of the Holland East toll plaza on State Route 408.
- A parking component - three parking garages.
- Revaluing facilities - places to purchase and revalue the smart cards.
The project included an evaluation team that established goals and measures that were the focus of the evaluation. Each goal with a quantifiable measure had a testable hypothesis and a potential benefit that the FOT was expected to provide. For certain goals, a qualitative assessment was also considered. Measurement of these goals included establishing discussion groups of customers and employees. Three discussion groups were established, each comprised of 10-15 individuals. The purpose of these groups was to obtain information, opinions, and preferences regarding the use of the ORANGES smart card.
An implementation team gathered pre-screening information and with the assistance of the evaluation team solicited potential cardholder participants. The discussion groups were formed prior to FOT implementation so that before and after data could be collected.
Recruited cardholders were taken through structured group discussions with the assistance of a facilitator. Cardholder participants discussed matters pertaining to:
- Convenience of use
- Trust and comfort level of use
- Reporting and informational needs
- Discounts and incentives
The discussion groups followed a series of open-ended questions and group polling to obtain cardholder opinions, attitudes, and suggestions. The results indicate:
- Participants reported that the boarding and fare payment process for bus service was improved with the ORANGES smart card. Using the card was faster and more convenient.
- Participants agreed that a common payment method made sense today and in the future, and made travel more convenient.
- Participants stated that the smart card improved the transportation experience.
- Participants viewed incentives favorably and felt they should be based on usage (the more the card is used, the greater the discount.)
- The comfort level of card use was 9.3 out of 10, with 10 being very comfortable. This was up from a 7.6 comfort level before using the card.
- Participants completely supported the need for and the value of transportation agencies exploring smart card applications.