Transit in Motion: Hands-Free Fare Gates
What happens when a metropolitan transit authority with a mandate to treat all customers equally, and people with disabilities who are simply looking to be treated ‘just like everyone else’ are confronted with the same dilemma? It’s the perfect opportunity for technology to bridge the gap with a reliable RFID solution that is both cost effective and makes good use of public funds.
Who we are
Hyperlight Systems is a Vancouver based RFID and Internet of Things (IoT) Integrator that excels in full stack solutions for accessibility in public transit, supply chain, and tracking things that matter. The company is piloting a custom RFID solution called OpenHAP (Hands-free Access Point): an innovative design that allows persons who do not have use of their arms to leverage passive RFID tags to seamlessly enter and exit train stations without having to tap their transit-payment card. While people with disabilities are tremendously resourceful with the way they use other parts of their body to accomplish simple tasks, OpenHAP is altogether different because it empowers users to pass through public spaces with dignity. Hyperlight is hoping to deploy the solution across 55 urban train stations, and then bring the technology to other cities across the world.
Hyerlight has found the perfect partner in RFID Canada after evaluating several hardware vendors through an unbiased lens. The two companies brought expertise and experience to deliver a cutting edge solution. An assessment was undertaken to compare competing technologies like Beacons (BLE), active and passive RFID. The results led the way for a Proof of Concept. The project is on target to meet some aggressive timelines.
For most of us, accessibility is a matter of convenience, but for those of us who are physically challenged, access is about independence and freedom. Hyperlight Systems understood the problem that needed to be solved and hand crafted a practical solution. Customers with disabilities will be given a choice of OpenHAP RFID tags on lanyards that will trigger the opening of CUBIC fare gates, which today only work with the tap and go payment card system. As a customer’s wheelchair approaches the designated fare gate, the RF signal is picked up at a pre-defined distance by Feig’s UHF Long Range RFID reader. The RFID reader then puts a message on the wire to middleware integration platform, that carries the business logic resulting in a command for the fare gate to open, and then close again at the time the RFID tag leaves designated access zone. This is all accomplished without making any physical modification to the CUBIC fare gates themselves. Future enhancements possibilities include real-time data analytics and visualization for business decision support.
A traditional access gate solution for people with special needs would have required substantial construction work and time to build separate entrance gates at each station. It would have cost tax payers significantly more (in both time and money) than what our solution is able to provide. We are delighted to be working with the RFID Canada team to build next-generation access solutions whenever there’s an opportunity to drive innovation and create amazing customer experiences.