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A joint system from Interalia, Action Information Management (AIM) and Varitext, is being used to provide travellers with real-time passenger information (RTPI) on bus arrival times.

The Borough of Poole, Dorset, and its neighbouring authorities are providing travellers with RTPI via a system that will help both able-bodied and disabled bus passengers.

Designed to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, which came into force in October 2004, the system, which was supplied by RTPI provider AIM, through a partnership with Interalia, a designer and manufacturer of digital voice announcement solutions, and Varitext, a public information display designer, provides travellers with both visual and audio information.

AIM has installed an intelligent sign unit (ISU) and a specially adapted Interalia Trouncer into Varitext’s light-emitting diode (LED) display units.

The sign visually displays the next bus arrival information for that stop and the Trouncer module provides this same information verbally for the visually impaired.

Utilising wireless communication and computer software, the ISU provides the interface between the communication system and the display electronics.

A black box on the bus transmits information to a central computer via radio link, enabling the computer to track the bus’s progress and update the ISU at each individual bus stop.

The ISU is said to be able to hold the entire timetable for all bus services that it is displaying.

This minimises the communication requirements and allows for the displaying and audio announcing of scheduled timetabled data in the absence, for any reason, of real time.

Around 140 bus stops have been equipped throughout Poole and the surrounding area with the technology, with further expansion planned.

Signs are continually updated throughout the journey and can be cleared by an approaching vehicle via a direct ‘short-range transmission’ (SRT) system.

This is intended to ensure that the displays are timely and accurate.

Interalia’s Trouncer uses the announcer’s functionality along with a 10W audio amplifier to drive speakers fitted into the signs.

These are activated using a special key fob and give a verbal announcement that corresponds with the display.

More than 300 of these fobs have been supplied for use by both visually impaired and those with learning difficulties.

The system can also support other methods of obtaining real-time information, including live feeds to the travel line call centre, internet access, SMS and WAP.

This provides the travelling public with access to live data, without having to go to the bus stop.

The system also gives priority to buses at traffic lights by making a direct request to the traffic light controller via the SRT or via a link between the RTPI Control Centre and the Traffic Control Centre where the traffic lights are centrally controlled.

Interalia’s Trouncer can be installed in a variety of environments and has been designed to provide high-quality audio messages and to control visual information displays.

Audio files are stored as WAV files at any available sampling rate including full CD quality 44.1K.

The Trouncer then plays back the messages under manual, automatic or computerised control.

Messages are also stored in Flash memory so that they are not lost in the event of a power failure.

Interalia Communications

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