ALLFA Ticket


Within the »intermobil Region Dresden« lead project, which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), an innovative fare management system for public transport was developed  by the Fraunhofer IVI and Siemens VDO in collaboration with Verkehrsverbund Oberelbe (regional transport association), Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe (public tansport provider in Dresden), DB Regio Verkehrsbetrieb Sachsen and other partners. The system's two main functions are:

  • automatic detection of passenger presence in buses and trams
  • automatic fare collection on the basis of a flexible tariff model.

For the first time world-wide, the passengers can act according to the »board and ride« principle and are free from any necessary actions before and during the ride (e. g., buying a ticket) and from knowing the tariffs and ticket distribution system and in advance.

This is made possible by the fully automated detection of user mediums carried by the passengers in the vehicles – the so-called »ALLFA Tickets« (special electronic cards or mobile phones). All media located inside the vehicle during a trip are registered with the help of special radio antenna using to the »Be-In/Be-Out Technology« (BIBO). With this system, it is possible for the first time to precisely detect all public transport rides, automatically calculate the correct ticket price and pay via a pre-paid anonymous account.

In the parking garage of the Dresden main station, the BIBO technology is used fpr a special task: when a key is pressed on a user medium, the parking barriers are lifted and the duration of the stay in the garage is determined automatically. Thus, switching from public transport to a private car is made more simple.

Project Outline

The Fraunhofer IVI played a significant role in the conception of the entire fare management system. The institute developed a flexible electronic tariff and a new, customer-oriented background system for the pilot testing phase, starting with the automatic calculation of fares and ending with the comnprehensive electronic business processes.

The background system processes all raw data transmitted from the vehicles and allows optimal support for the pilot test participants provided by the service centers of the involved public transport providers: via a phone hotline and public info terminals, home PCs and, if required, via SMS. The business processes are realized centrally by high-availability servers and are provided to the service staff and the users via decentralized, web-based clients. This way, it is easy to cancel or block user media if the device is lost. About 20 differnt business processes can be performed in a fast, comfortable and reliable way via screen masks and dialog windows. For example, the users are able to request and print a password-secured overview of the rides they have taken, to change their individual settings and to charge credit to their accounts. The basis of these business proecesses is the centralized processing of all data generated by the area detection system at the Fraunhofer IVI.

In addition, the ALLFA tickets allow the performance-based billing of public transport tickets for the first time ever. The appropriate price for any individual ride is calculated automatically. To realize this, a novel »electronic tariff« was developed by the Fraunhofer IVI in collaboration with Verkehrsverbund Oberelbe and the public transport providers. The electronic tariff allows a greater performance-based and market-based price differentiation, especially according to the distance covered, as well as further parameters such as day of the week, type of passenger and time of travel. It is also possible to take into account rebates given out for marketing purposes or on the basis of the individual user behaviour.

The new tariff was calculated in terms of its profitability and price impact on typical user groups and example use cases, and then it was  compared with the currently valid tariff. The automated price calculation according to this tariff is carried out by a tariff server developed especially for this purpose by the Fraunhofer IVI.

Under strict compliance with the data protection guidelines, a multitude of data relevant in terms of traffic, operation and tariffs can be generated from the recorded rides, which forms a completely new basis for the continuous optimization of public transport services. Using the graphical simulation software of the Fraunhofer IVI, it is possible for the first time to execute complex evaluations of the estimated tariff profitability and to optimally calibrate new electronic tariffs.


The system was tested under the name »ALLFA« in a six-month public pilot testing phase in the Upper Elbe transport association (Verkehrsverbund Oberelbe) with ca. 2,000 participants. The technology was tested successfully in 54 vehicles on 11 routes in Dresden and in one parking garage.

The test was carried out in modern city and regional buses, low-floor trams and double-deck trains. Both the participants and the  professionals were convinced by the system's advantages, and as a result, Saxony's transport associations signed a joint letter of intent stating that they support the introduction of the system in the future.

The concepts, models, software and hardware systems provided by the Fraunhofer IVI proved themselves during the pilot testing phase. The background system was used almost 5,000 times by the staff of the ten associated service centers and ca. 6,000 times by the private participants of the pilot. Over 120,000 public transport rides were processed electronically at the Fraunhofer IVI and automatically priced according to the new tariff model.

Funding and Partners

  • German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF)
  • Free State of Saxony
  • Siemens AG
  • Verkehrsverbund Oberelbe (Upper Elbe region transport association)
  • Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe AG
  • DB Regio AG
  • Regionalverkehr Dresden and others