Automated announcements added to five more tram routes

15 April, 2013

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Finding the right tram stop is now easier for passengers on 64 of Melbourne's low-floor trams following a $343,000 investment by the Victorian Government in automated 'next stop' announcements.

As part of their commitment to 'Think like a Passenger', Yarra Trams and PTV are upgrading all 59 D-Class trams to provide this important information to passengers.

While all passengers will benefit from this initiative, Yarra Trams particularly hopes that it will make a positive difference for people with vision impairments and make the tram network more accessible.

There are also many people who will make unfamiliar trips, whether they are visitors from overseas or interstate, or regular commuters travelling to somewhere they haven't been before. Providing audible and visual information reassures passengers that they are on the right track.

The detailed announcements include the tram's destination, interconnectivity with other tram routes and the direction of travel at intersections. The next stop is also shown via the on board LED displays.

Messages have been recorded for each stop on seven routes - Routes 5, 6, 8, 16, 72 and 96, plus Route 112 where D-Class trams occasionally operate. This information is uploaded to each tram and is selected when a driver inputs his route on the tram's passenger information console.

The system then uses GPS technology to provide an accurate real time position of the tram, with audio and visual announcements to passengers when the tram enters a pre-defined area around the stop.

The system is sophisticated enough to work correctly during some unplanned disruptions. Commonly used diversion routes are pre-programmed to be activated by the driver so the correct next stop will continue to be announced.

For example, if a tram that normally runs along Bourke Street is diverted to La Trobe Street, the correct stops will be announced.

The 50 new E-Class trams that the Government has ordered will have this function built into them. Future improvements may include announcing the tram stop number and nearby places of interest. Five C2-Class 'Bumblebee' trams are already fitted with the system.

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