05-Aug-2016 10:00:00
by James Gooch

A Guide to Transport Three Letter Acronyms (TTLAs)

Switching industries and learning the new ‘language’ industry professionals use to communicate can be a painful and potentially embarrassing task.

We try not to use too many acronyms at Masabi HQ to ensure team and company meetings do not leave new starters scratching their heads about what was going on.

A great example of this was during a demo of our Validator unit the presenter stated “The validation unit is capable to scanning QR and Aztec Barcodes, NFC, Contactless EMV and BLE.”

I mean, that’s impressive – but only if you know what the heck it means.

No one, or very few people, are comfortable asking what an acronym means, so we wrote this blog post for new starters who join Masabi so they can look up what people are talking about when they join without having to feel embarrassed.

Then we thought, surely other people feel the same when they start working in the transport industry, so why not share the document?

So here it is. We hope you find it useful.

What is a QR Code? & What is an Aztec Barcode?
Both QR and Aztec barcodes display on screen as a square 2 dimensional barcode. Aztec barcodes differ from QR barcodes in that they can hold more data at a given resolution.

Aztec barcodes tend to work better when the scanner is fixed and the phone is face down, while QR barcodes tend to work better when the scanner is being aligned visually by a member of staff. Otherwise they are broadly similar. You can tell the difference between an Aztec barcode and a QR code by the placement of the squares.

QR Barcode (Three squares in the corners):
Aztec Barcode (One square in the centre):

What is NFC?
NFC stands for Near Field Communication. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity standard that uses magnetic field induction to enable communication between devices when they're touched together, or brought within a short distance of each other. This is the technology used for contactless payments with services such as Apple Pay.

What is EMV Contactless?
EMV (standing for Europay, MasterCard, Visa) is an encryption and tokenization security provision ensuring secure contactless data transfer. EMV Contactless is the technology used on contactless credit and debit cards and ensures the data involved in payment transactions is dynamic and rendered useless in fraudulent activities.

Contactless EMV symbol:

What is BLE? (What is Bluetooth low energy?)
BLE stands for Bluetooth low energy. (Bluetooth LE, BLE) is a wireless personal area network technology. Compared to Classic Bluetooth, BLE has less power consumption while maintaining a similar communication range.

What is ACH?
ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. An ACH is a computer-based clearing and settlement facility established to process the exchange of electronic transactions between participating depository institutions.

What is a ToD?
ToD stands for Ticket on Departure. A UK paper orange magstripe ticket bought online and printed out by a ticket vending machine (TVM) or kiosk.

What is HOPS?
HOPS stands for Host Operator or Processing System. This is the the back-office software necessary to operate an ITSO smart ticketing scheme in the UK.

What is ITSO?
ITSO stands for Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation. A UK-specific non-profit organisation distributing technical, standardisation and interoperability information.

What is a LSB?
LSB stands for a Live Station Board. Here is an example:

What is a PSP?
PSP stands for a Payment Service Provider. A PSP offers online services for accepting electronic payments by a variety of payment methods including credit card, bank-based payments such as direct debit, bank transfer, and real-time bank transfer.

What is PCI DSS?
PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard. PCI DSS is a proprietary information security standard for organisations that handle branded credit cards.

What is a TBT?
TBT stands for Ticket Booth Terminal which is used for Retailing Tickets in the US.

What is RTTI?
RTTI stands for Real Time Transport/Train Information. 

What is a RTJP?
RTJP stands for Real Time Journey Planner. 

What is a TIS?
TIS stands for Ticketing Issuing System.

What is a TOC?
TOC stands for Train Operating Company (UK). e.g. Virgin Trains.

What is a TOM?
TOM stands for Ticket Office Machine which is used for Retailing Tickets (UK).

What is AFC?
AFC stands for Automated Fare Collection. An AFC system is the collection of components that automate the ticketing system of a public transit network. (An automated version of manual fare collection.)

What is a TVD?
TVD stands for Ticket Validation Database.

What is a TVM?
TVM stands for Ticket Vending Machine (the ticket machines in stations).


Have we missed any TTLAs? If so, please let us know and we will add them in. 

Please email me at: James.Gooch@masabi.com

Written by James Gooch

Head of Marketing at Masabi.
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