The future of Public Transport: Digitalisation enables more freedom of travel and individual tariffs

Current public transport tariff offers often price passengers' tickets according to concepts that are not always easy to understand for laypeople and are sometimes even disadvantageous. In addition, transport companies and transport associations handle this quite differently in national practice - internationally anyway. This can deprive passengers of the desire and motivation to use public transport more.

There are already an incredible number of passengers traveling on public transport every day - both privately and professionally. But the social and political wish is clear: even more people should be encouraged to use public transport regularly - for good reason. It should be natural, simple, spontaneous and affordable for every person to become a passenger in a means of transport: whether it be a train, bus, subway, tram, ship or even a mountain railway.

Public transport should be the first choice for personal mobility

The ambition behind this is to create a new, simple, customer-oriented and barrier-free tariff world that contributes to even more attractive and more frequently used public transport and an increase in the public transport share of the modal split - at least nationwide, perhaps even internationally ! There are several options to achieve this goal:

A Single Ticket (subscription ticketing)
Simply get on the bus, train and boat of local public transport (ÖV) and use a single ticket to travel across local or long-distance transport, for example drive the entire country without having to worry about fares, zones or times of day. National examples of this are the General Subscription (GA Switzerland), Deutschlandticket (D-Ticket Germany) and Klima-Ticket (Austria). In all cases, the basis for this is a subscription ticket purchased in advance by the passenger, which covers all trips in accordance with the General Terms and Conditions. The passenger can set off spontaneously at any time and no longer has to worry about buying any ticket in advance.

A Digital Tariff (post-pricing)
What could a tariff system look like if all passengers kept a digital travel diary? The digital tariff (post-pricing) provides the answer to this. All of the passenger's journeys are recorded digitally and billing is based on the journeys made and tariffs developed specifically for this purpose. For the passenger this means: a very simple individual tariff, attractive price plans, flexibility and security. In Post-Pricing (not to be confused with Post-Payment), the effective consumption of passengers is continuously measured (taxameter/digital travel diary). The individual price plans then continuously adapt to the respective consumer behavior or mobility needs. So the existing range is not used, but a suitable range is created. The following features usually also characterise a digital tariff: 

  • Payment for the actual amount travelled
  • Billing also over different time periods
  • Reward for frequent use
  • Additional savings offers
  • Simple and comprehensible price

The options mentioned are not mutually exclusive. In practice, it often makes sense or is necessary to combine several options in order to meaningfully support people's motivation and individual needs.  Subscription ticketing, be-in/be-out solutions, post-payment and post-pricing, for example, are used today.

However, all of these exciting approaches have one thing in common: The digitalization of the infrastructure.

Without the appropriate conditions having been created, such sensible and necessary relief for passengers - nationally or internationally - cannot be addressed or implemented.

WavePointer digitizes public transport sustainably

In order to provide passengers with this new type of freedom to travel on public transport as a matter of course, it is necessary that professional and resilient infrastructure is created. Such infrastructure is already reliably delivered by WavePointer in many international and national projects. The challenge is to provide technology that guarantees years of use under extreme conditions. That the technology can be installed or retrofitted into an existing environment quickly and cost-effectively in hundreds of thousands of installations. In addition, this technology must work at any time, in any place (above ground, underground, cold, wet, hot, cloud cover, ...) fail-safe, if possible independently of third-party providers (e.g. satellite technology, GPS, ...) and be serviceable via radio. This technology is then rightly described as investment-safe and systemically relevant.

Digitization of means of transport
WavePointer helps to - fast and easy - digitize new or existing means of transport, such as trains, buses, S/U trains, trams, cable cars or ships. This then enables their consistent use with a variety of digital services: passenger ticketing, fare management, revenue distribution, transport directories, CO2 balances, individual passenger services, occupancy measurements, wagon status display, environmental data collection, clean repair services, course assignment, and much more.

Digitization of train stations and stops
WavePointer helps to easily and comprehensively digitize entire train stations and public transport stops. The granularity goes down to the individual platform, for example. This then enables their consistent use with a variety of digital services: Passenger ticketing, fare management, revenue sharing, transport directories, advertising partnerships, point-of-interests, timetable displays on mobile devices, CO2 balances, individual passenger services, occupancy measurements, carriage stand displays, environmental data collection, clean repair services, course allocation, stop-on-demand, restricted mobility and much more.

Practical successes, certifications and references
With WavePointer's internationally tried-and-tested solutions, the desired results can be achieved quickly and effectively for individual transport providers, Transport associations, as well as demonstrably entire national public transport installations. In addition, WavePointer solutions are comprehensively certified to meet industry requirements (e.g. CE RED, RoHS, IEC, EN 50121-3-2, EN 55011, EN 61000-4-6, EN 45545, EN50155, EN45545 HL3, UN ECE R 118, UN ECE R 10).
You can find examples of ShowCases here.

WavePointer digitises public transport in Switzerland and Liechtenstein

In 2023, the Alliance SwissPass, the Swiss public transport industry association,  launched an incomparable initiative to further digitize the transport infrastructure in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. By using high-tech wireless technology ( Beacons) from, the quality of usage & Survey data from and for transport companies can be taken to “a new level”. An international tender was held at the end of 2022, in which WavePointer was selected as the best product.

In the future, all Alliance SwissPass members will be able to receive basic data about their level of usage, based on anonymous real-time data collection in their vehicles/means of transport. This provides, among other things, a reliable basis for the distribution of income (from subscription tickets) and the introduction of new tariff models (post-pricing) - secure, usage-based, automatic and everywhere. 

In addition, this technology can also be used for other applications in the future, such as control forecasting, improved Internet in vehicles, clean & Repair, load measurements, car sequencing and guidance systems, extended customer information, passenger services, be-in/be-out, post-pricing (pay-as-you-go) or support for people with reduced mobility.

"The start as well as the implementation of this supranational project has our utmost respect and puts Switzerland and Lichtenstein in a - also globally seen - unique situation", explains WavePointer. "Switzerland will thus further meet the ever-growing importance of public transport, but also the challenges to be overcome in the process, through the holistic and early introduction of digital infrastructure. We are very pleased to be involved in this exciting project with WavePointer technology. We are also convinced that other countries, especially in Europe, will soon follow this example."

WavePointer develops and produces the technology of the radio beacon infrastructure in this project - coordinating and supplying directly the more than 250 transport companies of the Alliance SwissPass each with thousands of hardware and dedicated roll-out support. An optimally organized procedure enables the smooth equipping of the public transport vehicles of two entire countries - based on a high volume of devices via "plug & play" installation and within only a few months. A prime example in terms of quality, performance, production and schedule coordination as well as innovation. 

All vehicles of Swiss Federal Railways SBB and PostBus AG are also included in this project and will be equipped by the end of 2023. This means that the new services will be available almost nationwide in Switzerland and Lichtenstein in the future.

A technical and logistical masterpiece

Public transport is provided by a multitude of different means of transport and traffic. Every day, thousands and thousands of trains, streetcars, ships, buses and gondola lifts are tirelessly at work to reliably bring millions of travelers to their destinations. In 2019, people in Switzerland covered around 16.6 billion kilometers on trains, buses and ships. In 2040, the Federal Office for Spatial Development expects around 33.6 billion passenger kilometers in public transport.

WavePointer technology not only fulfills the demanding radio communication services in the project on a technical top level for years and 24/7, but also supports the certification requirements for every type of vehicle used in the public transport environment. When it comes to passenger transportation, the highest standards of safety and reliability apply technically. In addition, the WavePointer devices are also subjected to considerable stress over many years. They must be able to operate at altitudes of 3500 m and in extreme cold or heat, as well as on ships or in long tunnels through the Gotthard.

In addition, a very tight schedule was required to supply the nearly 300 transport companies involved, almost simultaneously, with tens of thousands of devices at different locations and to enable simple and safe installation. WavePointer had just over four months of time from production to delivery. An enormous effort in demanding times (geopolitics, supply chain, etc.), but one that was mastered with flying colors.

"A company that masters such a large project is a reliable partner in the field of building digital infrastructure. Other countries will - once again - take their hats off to this Swiss public transport innovation when this digitalization step will play out its obvious advantages. The fact that Switzerland has put its trust in WavePointer technology for this is the greatest appreciation we can receive as a company" explains WavePointer.




About Alliance SwissPass

The Alliance SwissPass as an industry organization of public transport and association of 250 transport companies and 18 associations is committed to harmonized, understandable and economical tariff regulations, modern and attractive sales solutions as well as customer-oriented product ranges and information systems throughout Switzerland. The office ensures the operational running of the Alliance SwissPass and contributes with its services for the industry and the travelers to a simple, future-oriented and customer-friendly public transport system in Switzerland. Thanks to the SwissPass and the services included on it, such as GA, Half-Fare or Combined Pass, the Alliance SwissPass ensures easy access to Swiss public transport.


About WavePointer

WavePointer is an innovative high-tech company headquartered on Lake Zug in Switzerland. The company's team focuses on design and production services in the areas of integrated circuits, electronic systems, firmware, software and the development of own brands in the application area of the Internet of Things (IoT). Customers include international corporations and SMEs in many industries.

WavePointer both develops and produces its own product lines and also enables the technical implementation of customer visions. Experienced engineers with awards in electronics, software and product engineering enable the highest level of performance.

  • Integrated circuit/electronic systems design, including hardware and firmware development.
  • Global satellite navigation, sensor technology and state-of-the-art radio technology
  • Miniaturization, range optimization and ultra-low energy management
  • Software engineering with a focus on embedded solutions
  • Edge and cloud computing architectures
  • Implementation of prototypes, small series and mass production
  • Automatic identification via a secure QR code system (SQRC) - DENSO Partner 




Involved transport companies

Aare Seeland mobil AG, Aargau Verkehr AG (AVA), AG für Verkehrsbetriebe LLB, AHW Busbetriebe AG, Aletsch Bergbahnen AG, AMSA – Autolinea Mendrisiense S.A., Appenzeller Bahnen AG, Auto AG Rothenburg, AUTO AG SCHWYZ, AUTO AG Uri, Autobetrieb Sernftal AG, Autobetrieb Weesen-Amden , Autobus AG Liestal Öffentlicher Verkehr, Autobusbetrieb Freienbach AG, Autolinee Bleniesi, Automobilverkehr Frutigen - Adelboden AG, Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe, Belalp Bahnen AG, Bergbahn Lauterbrunen-Mürren AG, Bergbahnen Beckenried Emmetten AG, Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG, BERNMOBIL, Städtische Verkehrsbetriebe Bern, BLS AG, BLS AG, BLT Baselland Transport AG, Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH, BOGG Busbetrieb Olten Gösgen Gäu AG, Braunwald-Standseilbahn AG, Brunni-Bahnen Engelberg AG, Bürgerbus WETA, Bus du Soleil SA, Bus Ostschweiz AG, Bus und Service AG, Busbetrieb Aarau AG (BBA), Busbetrieb BLWE, Busbetrieb Rapperswil-Eschenbach-Rüti, Busbetrieb Solothurn und Umgebung BSU, Busbetriebe Bamert GmbH, Busland AG, CGN SA, Chemin de fer Nyon - St-Cergue - Morez SA, CHEMINS DE FER DU JURA, Compagnie du Chemin de fer Montreux Oberland bernois SA, Einwohner Gemeinde Zermatt E-Bus, Eurobus Ostschweiz AG, Ferrovia Monte Generoso SA, Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi- FART SA, Firstbahn AG, Forchbahn, Funiculaire Saint-Imier Mont-Soleil SA, Gondelbahn Grindelwald-Männlichen AG, Gondelbahn Kandersteg Oeschinensee AG, Gurtenbahn Bern AG, Harderbahn AG, Jungrfaubahn AG, LNM , LTB Lungern Turren Bahn , LUFAG, Luftseilbahn Dallenwil-Wirzweli AG, Luftseilbahn Meiringen-Reuti AG , Luftseilbahn Rhäzüns Feldis AG, Luftseilbahn Schattdorf-Haldi, Luftseilbahn Staldenried, Luftseilbahn Wasserauen - Ebenalp AG, Matterhorn Gotthard Verkehrs AG, Monte Tamaro SA, Mouettes Genevoises sa, Niederhornbahn AG, Niesenbahn AG, PostAuto AG, Regiobus AG, Regionalbus Lenzburg AG, Regionale Verkehrsbetriebe Baden-Wettingen (RVBW) AG, RegionAlps AG, Regionalverkehr Bern-Solothurn, Regionalverkehr Bern-Solothurn RBS, Rhätische Bahn, Rigi Bahnen AG, Rottal Auto AG, Säntis Schwebebahn AG, Schifffahrts-Genossenschaft Greifensee, Schifffahrtsgesellschaft Hallwilersee AG, Schweiz. Schifffahrtsgesellschaft Untersee u. Rhein AG, Schweizerische Bodensee-Schifffahrt AG, Schweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB, Schweizerische Südostbahn AG, Service de la mobilité - Section transports publics, SGV Holding AG, Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Bahn SZU, SMC SA, Societa Autolinee Regionali Luganesi, Societa di Navigazione del Lago di Lugano SA, Société Anonyme des auto-transports de La Vallée de Joux, A.V.J., Stadtbus Winterthur, Stanserhorn-Bahn, STI Service AG, Stoosbahnen AG, Theytaz Excursions S.A., TMR SA, Toggenburgbergbahnen, TPN SA, Transport de la région Morges Bière Cossonay SA, Transports Publics de la Région lausannoise, Transports Publics du Chablais SA, Transports publics fribourgeois Trafic (TPF TRAFIC) SA, Transports publics genevois (TPG), Transports Publics Neuchâtelois SA, Trasporti Pubblici Luganesi SA, TRAVYS SA, Treib-Seelisberg-Bahn AG, VBG Verkehrsbetriebe Glattal AG, Verkehrsbetrieb LIECHTENSTEINmobil, Verkehrsbetriebe Biel, Verkehrsbetriebe Davos, Verkehrsbetriebe Luzern AG, Verkehrsbetriebe Schaffhausen VBSH, Verkehrsbetriebe St.Gallen, Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich VBZ, Verkehrsbetriebe Zürichsee und Oberland AG, VMCV SA, Wengernalpbahn AG, zb Zentralbahn AG, Zugerland Verkehrsbetriebe, Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft AG, Zürichsee-Fähre Horgen-Meilen AG

Further Information

Press release of the Alliance SwissPass

WavePointer RailTAG: Certified IOT for rail, road, water & air