Swedish Trafikverket & French SNCF use text to speech solutions from Acapela Group to improve passenger information & public announcements

Posted: 25 November 2010 | Acapela Group | No comments yet

Vocal passenger information at Swedish railway stations has sometimes been unclear…

Vocal passenger information at Swedish railway stations has sometimes been unclear...

Vocal passenger information at Swedish railway stations has sometimes been unclear. This is about to change. Trafikverket, The Swedish Transport Administration, is introducing a new system for relaying passenger information which is being rolled out across the country. This new system is based on an original text to speech voice called “Järda”, created by Acapela Group exclusively for Trafikverket.

Trafikverket is the authority responsible for passenger information and public announcements at most railway stations in Sweden. Every day thousands of announcements are made to inform passengers about arrivals, departures and disruptions. Until now they have been made by different Trafikverket employees via telephone lines, a practice which has sometimes resulted in poor audio quality and passenger confusion:

We used to receive a lot of complaints about the poor quality of the announcements. At the same time surveys showed that vocal announcements are one of the most important sources of information for our passengers. With the new system and the synthetic voice, the relaying of public announcements will be more flexible and the sound quality much better,’ says Karl Åkerlund, in charge of passenger information at Trafikverket.

Järda has been created using Acapela Voice Factory, a voice-creation technology based on in-depth research into different methods used in the text to speech production process. Acapela Voice Factory facilitates the production of custom-made and exclusive voices for companies and organizations. These proprietary voices become the company’s ‘spokes person’, help establish high value added services and strengthen the audio identity of organizations.

Trafikverket has been testing the new system in the Hallsberg region since May 2010. It will be rolled out region by region and should finally be installed in all 300 of Sweden’s railway stations in 2011. The Trafikverket staff will be able to easily create new announcements by simply entering the text which will be automatically converted into clear and pleasant vocal messages using one unique voice, Järda. Soon almost every Swede will be acquainted with Järda, the representative and recognizable voice of Trafikverket!

SNCF France: online text to speech solution from Acapela provide real time vocal information to reliably serve passengers

Information in real time which is clear, precise and reliable is a fundamental part of the quality of service for all passengers. The TER SNCF passengers are informed in real time of next departures and timely announcements by 538 display screens equipped with synthesized voices from Acapela Group.

Real time visual information display screens are particularly adapted to small and medium sized stations. Thanks to a GPRS or 3G connection, they allow passengers to know in real time when the next trains and coaches are due to depart, their destination, stops made along the way and any delays. This technology brings together information which can be both read and heard.

This is made possible by Acapela Voice as a Service (VaaS), chosen by TER SNCF to vocalize the written information appearing on the screens. Acapela VaaS is an online text-to-speech service, provided by Acapela Group, to enable immediate vocalisation of any written information. In the case of SNCF, all station information, predictive or not, is guaranteed to be delivered in real time to all passengers, including people with sight or hearing disabilities. The process is totally automated and the result appears very natural. The announcements are smooth and fluid and the mechanical effect of pre-recorded announcements disappears.

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