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Crossroads: Where Text-to-Speech Meets the Transportation Industry

Public transport is turning to text-to-speech

Public transportation has been around for centuries and has evolved over time as new technologies emerged. New vehicles and modes of transportation were invented, and each time people sought to use them for mass transit purposes. This included automobiles, aircraft, boats, and trains.

Today, we’re seeing the transportation industry evolve in a different way. Instead of new machines (or hardware) leading the change, its software that’s been driving innovation.

Technologies including text-to-speech have been slowly integrating into transportation systems over the past couple decades and is becoming more common today. And the reason why they’re becoming more common is because they’re greatly improving public transportation.

So if the point of public transportation is to physically move a group of people from one place to another, then how does software like text-to-speech help? Let’s take a look at some examples and find the answers.

Los Angeles Metro seeks satisfaction

LA Metro is using text-to-speech in signs

Just a couple weeks ago, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a $4 million contract to Syncromatics to design, install, and operate 300 real-time information signs to be situated at bus shelters across Los Angeles.

This partnership sheds a lot of light on the importance of software in the public transit field.

Syncromatics’ mission is to solve complex problems in transportation, and they do this with their Intelligent Transportation Systems. These systems are aimed at improving transportation services and passenger satisfaction.

Passenger satisfaction is what LA Metro is seeking with this partnership. Syncromatics’ real-time signs display alerts, arrival times, and other information about LA Metro’s buses. This will help improve passenger experience says Syncromatics CEO Ian Sephton.

“Not knowing if or when your bus is coming can be very stressful, so these electronic signs will remove a barrier for new riders and deliver peace of mind to the millions of our neighbors who rely on Metro buses,” said Sephton.  “This contract validates the scalability of the Syncromatics technology platform, and we look forward to taking on more big projects like this in the future.”

About 62 percent of LA Metro riders don’t own a smartphone, so having this type of information available to them at roughly 300 bus stops will allow them to be aware of important updates.

Another big feature in Syncromatics’ signs will be text-to-speech. Just about anything that can be displayed on the screen can be read aloud by a text-to-speech voice. Allowing passengers to hear alerts adds an extra level of convenience. (If you’ll be riding the Metro buses and spot one of the new signs, listen out for NeoSpeech’s own Paul and Julie voices!)

It’s also greatly beneficial for people with disabilities, particularly visually impaired people. People with visual disabilities will still be able to get all of the vital information they need while using public transportation, which is often times the only mode of transportation available to them.

Software, and text-to-speech, driving innovation

Smart signs often include text-to-speech functionality

Companies like Syncromatics also offer more solutions than just electronic signs. Software for tracking,  live dispatch, passenger information, passenger counting, announcement systems, mobile applications, and vehicle health monitoring are some of the awesome new technologies we’re seeing used today.

These products provide solutions for both behind the scenes operations and for passengers. This is why software is now driving change in the transportation industry as opposed to hardware. Software provides vital information and convenience which allows transportation authorities, such as LA Metro, to run their day-to-day operations more smoothly.

And take a look at that list of solutions again. Did you notice anything? Each of those solutions can benefit greatly by the addition of text-to-speech technology. With text-to-speech, there would be no delays in sending out a live dispatch alert, no need to have staff member on hand to recite every announcement over a loud speaker, and updates on passenger and vehicle information will be read aloud instantaneously.

Syncromatics has long ago discovered the benefits of using text-to-speech to make public transportation better. Check out this awesome video demoing text-to-speech in a web-based announcement system for buses (can you identify which NeoSpeech voice is featured?).

What’s down the road?

While new vehicles are always going to be invented in an effort to transport people, it’s software that’s making public transportation smarter. Be on the lookout for new technologies, including text-to-speech to be continually integrated into every facet of the transportation industry.

And if you work within the public transportation industry and you haven’t looked into how these solutions can improve your business, it’s time to start looking before you fall behind the curve.

What do you think?

What do you think the future holds for speech technology? Let us know in the comments!

Learn More about NeoSpeech’s Text-to-Speech

To learn more about the different areas in which Text-to-Speech technology can be used, visit our Text-to-Speech Areas of Application page. And to learn more about the products we offer, visit our Text-to-Speech Products page.

If you’re interested in adding Text-to-Speech software to your application or would like to learn more about TTS, please fill out our Sales Inquiry form and one of our friendly team members will be happy to help.

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