Stand anywhere in Paris and you will be no more than 1km from a Metro station – often closer, as the average distance between stations is only 548m. Known for its density within the city, the Paris Metro is the second busiest in the world. Of the 302 Paris Metro Stations, is the 245 that are within city limits.
To transport over 1.5 billion annual passengers safely and efficiently, communication via a public address system is of the utmost importance. This includes both regular public address (PA) announcements as well as a voice alarm (VA) system in case of emergency. Paris Metro appointed Archean Technologies, a specialist manufacturer and distributor of voice alarm, public address and emergency voice communication, to upgrade its VA and PA systems. The result is the ongoing installation of Baldwin Boxall VIGIL2 voice alarm systems across the Metro network.
In order to meet the project requirements – full EN55 voice alarm compliance along with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology – Archean had its work cut out.
Complexity Requires Flexibility
The five year cycle of renovation will bring every Metro station up to the latest EN54 standards, featuring the VIGIL2 voice alarm system and all of its components. Adding to the complexity of the project, each station is considered a separate site as well as part of the overall network of stations.
One challenge when installing a voice alarm system in architecture like the Metro stations is the need to save space but still remain flexible and meet all of the requirements.
Varying Acoustic Environments Provide Unique Challenges
One of the unique challenges in specifying a project like the Paris Metro is the different sizes and acoustics of the stations. From the original plain white tilework and art nouveau entrances, each successive wave of building and renovation used different materials and architecture.
The platforms range from the original length of 75m up to 120m on the newest line. Most have vaulted brick or flat metal ceilings but there are also elevated (above street) stations covered by platform awnings or glass canopies. The end result is a myriad of different acoustic situations.
In an emergency, peoples’ lives depend on the audio guidance addressing them. It is essential the voice alarm system can be heard and understood.
Interfacing with other Systems
Another consideration for the ongoing Paris Metro project has been the interfacing of the PAVA system with other systems, including traffic control, information displays and the clock system.
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