NIST’s Trusted Identities Group is working with Portland tech companies moovel and Tozny to help deliver Atlanta Streetcar’s new mobile app. NIST defines standards for the federal government and commercial business frequently follows suit. To accelerate high-tech solutions becoming available to the market, NIST’s Trusted Identities Group uses partnerships between government and commercial players to develop digital identity technologies. Atlanta Streetcar is a beneficiary for this NIST pilot delivered through moovel and Tozny. moovel builds mobile apps for transit agencies in US cities and abroad, and under the NIST pilot they have been integrating Tozny authentication technology into the moovel code. Atlanta Streetcar app will be the first live application of this NIST pilot.
The Atlanta Streetcar app’s primary purpose is to allow mobile ticket purchasing for riders of the Streetcar. Users can easily create an account, purchase tickets, and use their mobile devices to validate that they have paid their fares for each ride. Mobile ticket purchasing has been a success in many cities that already use moovel-powered apps, including Portland, where moovel’s headquarters is. However, mobile users are sometimes frustrated on mobile devices by an often overlooked issue - passwords. Tozny became a tech partner in the pilot to address this very issue.
“People use their phones to make things easier,” said Isaac Potoczny-Jones of Tozny, “but passwords can be the source of endless frustration on your mobile phone. They get mistyped. They get forgotten. They get hacked and have to be changed. It’s a user experience problem that needs to be resolved.” Potoczny-Jones set out to do just that when he founded Tozny. After designing a method of securely authenticating with a mobile device and strong encryption rather than a password, Tozny joined the NIST pilot with moovel to bring the solution to transit agencies.
The launch of the Atlanta Streetcar mobile app is the first opportunity for riders to benefit from the collaboration between NIST, moovel, and Tozny. Streetcar users will be able to download the app for iOS or Android, create an account without having to create a password, purchase their tickets on their phone, and board the Streetcar.