01 May 1998

A METROPOLIS run on smartcards is the scenario being set-up in Curitiba, a city of 1.5m inhabitants in south-eastern Brazil. The cards, to be introduced by the municipality, will eventually fulfil a number of functions: ID and access, payments to retailers, a ‘passport’ to preferential services with a participating bank, and an electronic bus ticket. Second-phase applications include healthcare pre-payment and network access. As from June, the card is being offered to 30,000 local government employees, then extended next year to their families, before a city-wide roll-out in 2001, dependent on the speed at which card applications develop. Says Mayor Casio Taniguchi: 'Our objective is to give every citizen of Curitiba a card, so that public services will be available in a quick and efficient manner. By supporting a common smartcard, we will also reduce costs and speed the development of Curitiba’s commercial infrastructure, helping to make major improvements in the quality of life for our community.' A similar smartcard scheme is under way in Nottingham.