On the tracks of customer information: AURIS – customer information in real time

construction works/projects
// 13 January 2022

When evaluating our services, the topic ‘customer information’ plays an important role. In this article series, we will introduce you to many motivated employees who are committed to ensure that you are well informed at all times, especially during periods of engineering and construction work. Christophe, one of the people behind the Auris system, explains how real-time customer information works.

What time does my train leave and where exactly? These are questions that have already crossed the mind of every traveller within a station. The CFL have been working on the implementation of the Auris project over the last few years to ensure that customers are always well-informed at the station, even in the event of possible changes (e.g. track changes or possible delays).

Behind Auris (short for « Automatisiertes Reisenden-Informations-System ») are dynamic display boards and automated announcements that inform customers in real time. By the end of 2021, all stations and stops across the country had been equipped with it. A big leap in customer information, explains Christophe, who is behind this important modernisation work with his team.

Modern displays offer regular updates at a glance

The customer receives information about the departure time of the train, about possible delays and their reasons, as well as about platform changes – all fully automated and on one and the same display. The complete process takes place in real time and on the basis of data directly from the BLZ, i.e. the place where decisions on train operations are coordinated, more precisely from the ARAMIS system.

Text-to-speech procedure for clear announcements

In addition to this visual component, Auris also informs the customers through fully automated announcements. These use a so-called “text-to-speech” process, i.e. a computer voice that converts the information into speech in real time and transmits it to the customers on the platforms. This highly modern system avoids interfering noises, such as hissing, and improves the intelligibility of the announcements. Besides, the synthesised voice has a high recognition value for the customer, as it always sounds the same.

At the same time, the loudspeaker systems on the platforms are constantly optimized. On newly built platforms and in renovated stations, their location is chosen to ensure that the announcements are optimally audible. However, this optimisation always takes into account the residents in the vicinity of the station so that they are not disturbed by announcements.

From the yellow paper to the blue automated scoreboard

With the new possibilities of technology, i.e. the highly modern displays and the fully automated announcements, the CFL uses the potential of the new technologies to inform their customers even better. Whereas previously customers could “only” rely on the yellow timetable notices in the stations and from the CFL employees on the spot, with Auris, they now have another travel companion at their disposal in all the stations across the country.

Teamwork makes it possible

Christophe emphasises that many departments work closely together to make Auris function optimally.  “Without this large and motivated team of employees, this form of customer information would not be possible”.