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Trans link systems: multimodal electronic fare management system for public transportation

With Accenture’s help, Trans Link Systems launched the world’s first nationwide, multimodal electronic fare management system for public  transportation.


With the help of an international consortium led by Thales and Vialis (Accenture was part of this group), Trans Link Systems is on its way to achieving its goal of having the world’s first nationwide electronic payment system for all modes of transport.

Trans Link Systems is a joint venture of the five largest Dutch public transport companies. Together, these operators provide approximately 80 percent of public transport service in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is one of the most populated countries in the world, and its road networks are among the most congested. In 2002, the country's five largest public transport operators came together to form a joint venture—Trans Link Systems—responsible for overseeing the design and implementation of a nationwide electronic ticketing and payment system.

However, this project marked the fifth serious attempt to introduce such a system in the Netherlands. All previous projects foundered because of a lack of agreement among the country’s nearly 20 different—and often turf-conscious—public transport authorities. Trans Link Systems’ leadership understood the challenges and the complexity that lay ahead to roll out this system successfully. It realized that the success of the project would depend on the skills of the team responsible for designing, building and implementing the new electronic ticketing solution.


Trans Link Systems chose an international consortium led by led by Thales and Vialis (Accenture was part of this group), to design, build, launch, roll out and operate the project. The consortium provided unique and critical components for the integrated solution and helped create a first-of-its-kind system.

Accenture, specifically, deployed a team of professionals who are highly skilled in fare management technologies and public transport solutions to:

  • Design business processes.

  • Coordinate system delivery.

  • Provide overall program management support.

Accenture also deployed resources from its business process outsourcing group to set up Trans Link Systems’ new service operations organization, which was responsible for several key business areas such as IT operations, cardholder services, and revenue clearing and settlement for all participating transport operators.

Once the integrated system was on its way to complete implementation, Trans Link Systems was also looking at transitioning the back-office operations. It asked Accenture to return—this time as a direct provider of customer relationship management and card distribution management applications.

Since then, Accenture has developed new customer service applications that augment a dedicated call center and allow passengers to purchase smart cards, report stolen cards, add value to their existing cards or take advantage of discount purchasing—all via an easy-to-use Internet portal.


With Accenture’s help—and the help of the consortium—Trans Link Systems’ multimodal electronic payment system is now fully functional across 80 percent of the Netherlands. By the end of 2010, cardholders will be able to use their smart cards in any form of public transport anywhere in the country. At that time, the system is expected to support 1.4 billion passenger trips each year.

The historic and groundbreaking nature of the project has caught the attention of a number of innovation leaders, including the Computerworld Honors Program, which in 2007 recognized Trans Link Systems as a recipient of the "21st Century Achievement Award" for its exceptional use of technology to better society.

"In January 2010, we saw a jump from eight to 17 million transactions, with no additional marketing of the system on our part. We’ve maintained that rate ever since. To me, that confirms a cultural shift is taking place. People are realizing they can use the smart cards nationwide, and they are embracing that option."—Jeroen Kok, chief executive officer, Trans Link Systems