If you happen to visit the city of Bursa – the fourth most populous city in Turkey and now one of its most industrialized metropolitan areas – you’re sure to notice how it mixes the ancient with the very new. Historic buildings, dating back to the Ottoman Empire and before, mingle with shining modern skyscrapers, and narrow streets with covered bazaars give way to major thoroughfares filled with the latest car models – many of them produced by Bursa’s expanding automotive industry.
Bursa is one of Turkey’s fastest growing metropolitan areas and, as such, has committed itself to being a Smart City. The idea is to use digital technology to create the efficiencies and conveniences associated with modern urban life. One of Bursa’s most visible examples of Smart City planning is the BursaKart, a reusable card for buses, trams, and metros. With a BursaKart in your pocket, you have an easy, economical way to get around town or visit the nearby capital of Istanbul, which lies just across the Sea of Maramara.
The BursaKart system has been in place for several years now and, as the backbone of Bursa’s Smart City initiatives, has become a familiar part of everyday life. In a metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people, there are more than 1.7 million active BursaKart cards in service according to Burulas, the city’s official transit authority. The system issues roughly 500,000 new cards on an annual basis, and supports 630,000 journeys a day or 230 million journeys a year.
A World First
My colleagues and I have been talking about Bursa quite a bit lately, since it’s the first transit system to migrate from using NXP’s MIFARE Classic with 1K memory to our brand-new MIFARE® DESFire® Light IC.
The city’s transit authority Burulas has decided to the make the change so they could take advantage of new opportunities made possible by the tiny microchip within the transit smart card. The General Manager of Burulas, Kursat Capar, cites higher security, with sufficient memory, as the main attraction of MIFARE DESFire Light, and expects the new chip will make it easier to introduce new Smart City services. The new smart cards will be produced by the local card and printer supplier Hayat Teknoloji who supported Burulas and NXP throughout the entire migration phase.
The MIFARE DESFire Light IC offers the same amount of memory as the MIFARE Classic IC with 1K memory, but with a higher level of security. It supports up to five AES 128-bit keys, to support secure management for access rights and secure messaging. NXP’s MIFARE DESFire Light is also upwards scalable, and can integrate with a MIFARE DESFire EV2 product-based system, so it provides an attractive long-term roadmap for future growth and co-existence of applications on one single card supporting smart city use cases.
The transit authority Burulas has upgraded their system remarkably quickly. Within just three months they were able to transition away from legacy MIFARE products and introduce a new level of passenger experience, for example it will be easier to report a lost card. A pilot program for the new BursaKart, begun the first week of May, is expected to transition to the live system by the end of the month. An incentive program, designed to encourage passengers to trade their old cards for new ones based on MIFARE DESFire Light, will help drive the transition and expand access to new Smart City services.
Security, Flexibility, Innovation
For the people living and working in Bursa or just visiting, the upgrade to MIFARE DESFire Light means a new level of protection and privacy, plus a convenient experience while using public transport. For me, it’s an exciting reminder that even an ancient city can take the lead when it comes to adopting the latest Smart City trends.