Voice announcement systems
Voice announcement systems can be in-vehicle or at the roadside and are primarily used to notify passenger of oncoming stops or approaching services. Roadside voice announcement systems are most commonly an additional function of real-time roadside visual display systems. They are built into the visual display unit and automatically activated as the service arrives or when disruptions occur. These systems can be accessed from the operations control centre via the in-built radio receiver to provide live or pre-recorded voice announcement. In addition, some of these duel systems also provide a key fob activated voice announcement facility which corresponds to visual display information for the visually impaired.
In-vehicle announcement systems generally notify passengers of the next stop, available connections at stops and the destination point. There are two main types of announcement systems, pure audio systems and visual display systems with audio function. Pure audio systems are units which can be integrated with the on-board computer which links the unit to multiple systems including the vehicle doors, the AVL and radio systems. The on-board computer cross references schedule information with the AVL system and triggers the audio unit to announce the next stop as the vehicle approaches and when the doors open. In-vehicle systems can also provide announcements outside the vehicle using external mounted speakers which are also automatically activated when the vehicle doors open.
With pure audio announcement units, voice can be generated using synthetic language software tools or pre-recorded. These can be downloaded onto the unit using a laptop computer, USB memory stick, memory card or wireless local area network connection. In this way multiple announcements can be recorded in multiple languages. The audio unit is also connected to the driver control unit via the on-board computer allowing the driver to control announcement type and timing in addition to the automated functionality. In-vehicle systems can also automatically adjust announcement volume based on ambient noise conditions. Dual visual/audio systems offer many of the same functions as dedicated units in addition to visual functions but tend to be more expensive. In these systems voice announcement are generally triggered in unison with visual display changes.
- Traveller information
- Drivers aid
Benefits and cautions
On-board announcement systems tend to be low cost but provide added value to transport services in terms of improved customer service. The choice of system depends on the level of functionality required. While stand alone voice announcement systems are available, visual displays with integrated voice announcement functions may present a better option despite being more expensive. An additional benefit of these dual systems is that they cater for people with hearing or visual impairments as opposed to one or the other.
Relevant case studies