Santa Clara VTA electric train

Superior Passenger Experience with Smart Payment System for Santa Clara VTA

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) gets a future-proof and efficient Allied Telesis solution to enable its new smart fare system.

The Customer

Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority Serving the high-tech capital of Silicon Valley, VTA’s mission is to provide sustainable and accessible transportation, including bus, light rail and paratransit services, to more than 42 million passengers a year. VTA is also responsible for transportation planning, congestion management and designing and constructing new highway, pedestrian and cycle-way projects throughout Santa Clara.

Supporting Contactless Payment

When the Santa Clara VTA launched the use of Clipper® smart cards on its bus and light rail systems, it was time to update their network. Clipper is a reloadable, contactless card for electronic fare payment in the San Francisco Bay Area. The system makes commuting easy by allowing passengers to board and transfer with the mere swipe of a card.

This new technology required a new, streamlined and highly-reliable network solution, capable of connecting Clipper kiosks and card-scanning devices across 42.2 miles of VTA railway tracks connecting the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Caltrain, Amtrak and Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) services.

VTA’s legacy network had numerous issues. Over time, numerous stopgap fixes and adhoc hardware additions had resulted in a network comprised of disparate equipment types from numerous vendors. Plus, there was little documentation, increasing the time needed to troubleshoot.

Unmanaged media converters were used in lieu of switched infrastructure, which restricted visibility and growth and prevented VTA from both fixing problems and expanding its network. With no ability to predict or prevent network failures, the network had become extremely time consuming and expensive to run. It was time for a complete overhaul.

VTA needed a reliable and scalable core-to-edge network solution—to both support the new payment system and accommodate projected increases in ridership.

A Streamlined, Highly Reliable Solution

VTA selected a cutting-edge Allied Telesis solution. From initial design to final deployment, VTA entrusted Allied Telesis to implement a new network that could easily handle the demands of the Clipper system, meeting its rigorous requirements both now and well into the future.

Train platforms present an extremely challenging environment—vibration and other environmental factors require highly-ruggedized products. Only Allied Telesis was able to work with us to deliver modern, customized switch products that were form-fitted to the Clipper card pole, and met our stringent drop, kick and bump criteria.

Mr. Richard Bertalan

Technology Manager

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority