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 it plans to roll out across the country. This new system is based on “Järda”, an original text to speech voice 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 the announcements have been made by different Trafikverket employees via telephone lines, a practice which has sometimes resulted in poor audio quality and passenger confusion, partly because some voices just aren’t suitable for this purpose.
'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, Acapela Group’s voice-creation technology based on in-depth research into recording, segmentation and fine tuning 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 companies' spokespeople, help establish high value added services and strengthen the audio identity of organizations.
'Voice based communication within the public address sector has in the past often been based on pre-recorded voice prompts, a method with many limitations. By using a text to speech solution the customer is no longer limited to the existing set of voice prompts. Any information, no matter its length, can be vocalized in real time, with a very pleasant audio result. More and more companies are adopting speech technology based information systems and demand for custom-made voices is growing' adds Lars-Erik Larsson, CEO at Acapela Group.
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 inputting the text which will be automatically converted into clear and pleasant messages using one unique voice, Järda. Soon almost every Swede will be acquainted with ‘Järda’, the representative and recognizable voice of Trafikverket!
This new deployment demonstrates once again how Public Transportation Information Systems can benefit from speech synthesis, guaranteed to deliver accurate and automatically updated information, providing an excellent service for both passengers and operators.
More information at http://www.trafikverket.se
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