The technological heart: the VDV Core Application

The core of it all

The VDV Core Application is our open data and interface standard for electronic ticketing and electronic fare management (EFM) in public transport. The VDV Core Application is the technological heart of the (((eTicket Deutschland electronic ticketing system, which serves as the basis for the EFM systems that have been introduced throughout Germany by transport authorities and providers.

We are currently developing version 3 of the VDV core application. To enable international manufacturers of components and systems as well as transport companies abroad to work with our open standard in the future, the new version will be published in English - and will be given an international name: (((etiCORE

More about (((etiCORE

What the VDV Core Application is capable of

From a technological perspective, the respective (((eTicket Deutschland user media (chip cards and NFC- or RFID-enabled user media such as smartphones) support all versions of the system in use, even if only certain functions have been introduced in the region in question.

Transport providers who work with the VDV Core Application can decide for themselves what functions to use or provide their customers. The partnership is based on a participation agreement that primarily provides a framework for organisational issues with the aim of allowing all participating systems to automatically work together as equals.

Three options are available:

  1. (((ePayment: Customers can buy simple, conventional paper tickets without needing cash. The chip card features a payment authorisation function that is also used in options 2 and 3.
  2. (((eTicket: An (((eTicket is stored on the customer’s chip card. Customers can choose their ticket at the transport provider’s service centre or at a ticketing machine. During the roll-out phase, this option is usually only offered to customers with travel cards such as monthly passes, annual tickets, employer-funded season tickets or semester tickets. Their tickets can be checked electronically using appropriate readers. More and more buses feature terminals installed near their doors to check tickets when passengers embark.
  3. (((eTicket with automatic fare calculation: Customers can use their e-tickets to check in and out at terminals when embarking or disembarking. Special smartphone-based cards and methods that will make it possible to record customer journeys fully automatically using radio technology, without the need to check in or out, are currently being tested. A system based on the VDV Core Application is capable of using RFID and NFC technology to save tickets, read tickets and automatically calculate fares. The signals are transmitted contactlessly in accordance with the ISO/IEC 14443 standard.

Download of the VDV-KA

All parts of the VDV core application are available for free download in our ASM-Tool. If you have not yet registered, please follow the link to the ASM-Tool. Registration is also free of charge.

Please note that the documents are in german language.


To the ASM-Tool

Release plan

Here is the current release plan for version 3.0.0 of the VDV Core Application. This plan is updated on a regular basis.


Download Releaseplan V3.0.0

Agreements, infrastructure and certification

Agreements, infrastructure and certification

VDV-ETS offers transport providers and authorities three contract options to allow them to participate in the (((eTicket Deutschland programme:

FULL (((eTicket is a comprehensive package that includes all technical services and VDV-ETS support for test environments and operational use.

Download Produktblatt FULL (((eTicket


(((eTicket Ready is the perfect starter package for transport providers and authorities that initially only want to conduct technical tests for later operational use. (((eTicket Ready gives you access to (((eTicket Deutschland’s background systems in a secure test environment so that you can test the development of your own electronic fare management system in the VDV Core Application environment.

Download Produktblatt (((eTicket Ready


(((eTicket Barcode is a limited participation agreement that is ideal for transport providers and authorities that currently intend to offer their (((eTicket only as a mobile ticket and would like to use the 2D barcode.

Download Produktblatt (((eTicket Barcode


Once you have decided to start using (((eTicket Deutschland, you will need the right infrastructure in addition to the participation agreement and the specifications. The components supplied by your manufacturers of choice should be certified by CTC advanced GmbH’s independent testing laboratory in accordance with the VDV-ETS guidelines to ensure that they work correctly in the VDV Core Application environment.

Certification is currently available for the following system components:

  • User media (such as chip cards) and user media applets: As the interface between the customer or user and the (((eTicket, it has to be possible to read and update user media reliably at any terminal while complying with the required security processes (authentication and access security).
  • Terminals: As the devices that communicate with user media, terminals must be able to reliably read and update all media and data while complying with the required security processes. They have to provide a full customer interface in line with the specifications and a secure communication link to background systems.
  • Background systems: Through their interfaces, their job is to enable the transactions between a wide range of systems that are necessary for the VDV Core Application’s business processes.

Find out more

VDV eTicket Service provides the central systems for (((eTicket Deutschland. At present there are four systems in operation: the ASM-Tool, the Central Exchange Service (ZVM), the Verification and Blocking List Service (KOSE) and the Interoperable Network (ION). The last central component of the interoperable (((eTicket Deutschland, a clearing System, is currently under development.


The first step for transport companies to join (((eTicket Deutschland is to register at the application and security management tool (ASM-Tool).

Here, all organization IDs of the participating companies are generated. Product managers register their products at the ASM-Tool and receive security components for testing and operating. After registration of their products at the ASM Tool, product managers receive

Registered transport companies receive all specifications, products and documentations over the ASM-tool.

Central systems

Interoperable Network (ION)

The interoperable network (ION) enables nationwide communication between all (((eTicket Deutschland participants and other the central services of (((eTicket Deutschland. Data exchanged by the participating companies are end-to-end-encrypted, thus complying with the highest standards.

Central Exchange Service (ZVM)

To ensure that the data within the ION is send to the correct recipient, VDV eTicket Service runs the Central Exchange Service (ZVM).

ZVM mediates technical messages between all participants of (((eTicket Deutschland. In case of a ticket control for instances, the local bus company learns that its customer is travelling by train. Or a transport company in Cologne receives the message that its customer is using the eTicket in Berlin, which enables them to prepare the settlement.

Verification and Blocking List Service (KOSE)

In case an eTicket gets stolen or lost, the ticket will be blocked immediately after notification. The Verification and Blocking List Service receives such blocking or unblocking requests, generates the current blocking lists and transfers them custom-fit to all participating eTicket Deutschland companies. With KOSE, all terminals and testing instruments can check an eTicket (and transport passes) for its validity.


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