Paris Metro Stations, France

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.

The Project

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. 

For such a massive project, it starts with around 350 pages of technical documents. Our first contact was with the technical specialists of Paris Metro.

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.

For this level of flexibility and complexity, we have a long-term partnership with Baldwin Boxall. We specified VIGIL2 system combined with our own Archean products for control of the VAS (voice alarm system) and PA. One of the benefits of our partnership is the compatibility of our solutions. For the Paris Metro project, the solution isn't only tailor-made and turnkey, it is bespoke for each station. We worked together to create the perfect solution for each site.

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.

The VIGIL2 system is both compact and flexible. The modular style gives us options for each station in the Metro. Perhaps, more importantly, we know that Baldwin Boxall products are going to work when it is critical. Baldwin Boxall's reliability is renowned.

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.

The advantage of using the Baldwin Boxall VIGIL2 system is apparent when the acoustic properties of each station are considered. We are able to tune the sound for each station using a combination of our patented de-reverberation technology along with Baldwin Boxall's BVRD2M DSP-controlled router. The built in parametric EQ for both inputs and outputs, compressor and ambient noise sensors are a few of the features that make it possible. The result is clear communication regardless of whether the station is full of people during the commuter rush or during the quieter travel periods. No matter the size of the station, the layout, or the architecture, using VIGIL2 makes the PA clear and intelligible. This means safety and efficacy in the case of emergency and better communication for every day public address use.

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.

Again, the flexibility and adaptability of the VIGIL2 components, combined with our own products makes this possible. Everything works together to create a much smoother and safer travel experience for commuters and visitors to Paris. Archean's very close partnership with Baldwin Boxall allows us to provide the perfect solution for the Paris Metro renovation project. The VIGIL2 system gives us the confidence to provide the highest level of guarantee in the industry.

EN54 Certified
British Standards BS5839-8 Code of Practice

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