Metro Transit, the primary public transportation operator in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area of the U.S. state of Minnesota and the largest operator in the state, has selected Acapela Transport’s solution to generate its voice messages.
Acapela Transport provides Public Transport companies with Voice Announcements using speech technology solutions. Acapela voices are already in use in Berlin, Calgary, Chicago, Denver, Montreal, New York City, Paris, Salt Lake City, Stockholm, Toronto and Vienna to inform passengers in real time.
Named ‘2016 System of the year’ by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for its network that provides more than 80 million annual rides, Metro Transit implements technologies that make passengers’ trips faster, easier and more reliable. Acapela Transport’are proud to be part of those technologies.
Started in Spring 2014, the project aimed to simplify the implementation and update of automated bus voice announcements. Text to speech was selected as the most efficient way to produce voice files and easily handle thousands of ever changing phrases that need to be updated every three months.
Metro Transit’s database counts approximately 4,000 announcement phrases. About 400 phrases change each quarter and one person at Metro Transit is handling the updates through the Acapela audio file production tool. Two different voices from Acapela are used: one female and one male. The female voice is used for most announcements while the male one vocalizes generic safety announcements. Specific tools and services, such as the pronunciation editor, allow Metro Transit to easily finetune the audio message result, with an optimal pronunciation of names.
Automated audio announcements are made inside and outside Metro Transit buses and provide way-finding information to passengers. Interior announcements include information about most approaching bus stops; this information is also scrolled on the Stop Requested sign. External announcements are made each time the driver opens the front door.