The technology behind the OV-chipkaart system

The OV-chipkaart system is made up of the Translink Central Back Office (CBO) system and the systems of connected public transport companies. Below is a summary of all systems within the OV-chipkaart system:
  • technical components (hardware, middleware and software)
  • infrastructural components (physical locations and other resources) that are directly connected to technical components (such as storage of security keys)
  • network connections
  • data that is processed by the systems
  • interfaces with other systems
  • information about the specifications, use and management of the complete OV-chipkaart system
  • use processes
  • management processes for the implementation and maintenance of technical components and network connections
  • organisations involved in these processes

Open architecture
The OV-chipkaart system is a single, comprehensive, open-architecture system. This means that equipment suppliers are free to develop their own equipment. However, the equipment must meet the specifications established by Translink in the 'Specification Document Open Architecture'. The OV-chipkaart system consists of the following five levels:

Level 0: OV-chipkaart

The OV-chipkaart is a contactless card onto which credit and any travel products (such as a monthly pass) can be loaded.

Level 1: transaction equipment at passenger level

Equipment that supports the sale and reloading of OV-chipkaarts as well as the access, registration and monitoring processes within the OV-chipkaart system. This includes:

  • sales and reloading devices
  • card readers for check-in (registration of boarding) and/or check-out (registration of alighting)
  • onboard computers to control readers in vehicles
  • gates (at gated metro and train stations)
  • information readers (to read information on the OV-chipkaart)
  • card readers for upgrading from second to first class and ticket inspection equipment

Level 2: local systems for individual public transport companies

Computer systems that control level 1 equipment at various locations (stations, garages and depots). They collect and (temporarily) store information from this equipment.

Level 3: central system for individual public transport companies

The company-level control system:

  • definition of system parameters
  • equipment administration
  • application management
  • communication with the Translink Central Back Office system
  • storage of registration and transaction information for a specified period
  • communication with other systems at the company
  • emergency management of gates

Level 4: Translink Central Back Office (CBO) system

Our services are delivered through the Central Clearing House System (CCHS). This system is linked to the public transport company's central system (level 3) and the systems of relevant financial institutions. The CCHS has the following functions:

  • registration and validation of OV-chipkaart transactions
  • carrying out clearing and settlement
  • handling blacklisting
  • creating transaction overviews
  • adjustment and management of travel products
  • delivering detailed information