Calgary is Canada’s fastest-growing city. With its public transit system straining from increased demand, city leaders decided to upgrade infrastructure on one of the older C-Train light rail lines. Although the original audio system was capable of broadcasting pre-recorded messages such as next train arrivals, as well as live pages and safety announcements, its functionality was limited. Buzzing and interference were common. To continue serving Calgary’s burgeoning population, the Northeast Line required significant audio improvements and the ability to tie into the system in the future for emergencies. Prior to the overhaul, C-Train’s existing stations were using equipment that was outdated, ineffective, and no longer suited for modern emergency response standards.
The City of Calgary required a flexible, robust solution that delivered features like zoned paging, and live and prerecorded message capabilities to support its growing public transportation needs. Since the light rail stations are outdoors and therefore exposed to harsh weather conditions for much of the year, any new equipment had to be able to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds, and precipitation. Biamp Systems’ Vocia® family was chosen for its flexibility and scalability, as well as the ability to manage the software from a central office, rather than traveling to each individual station to perform system diagnostics, changes, and adjustments. While only six of C-Train’s 45 stations received the initial upgrade, Vocia allows for easy expansion to additional lines or throughout the entire rail system. As a supplemental service for C-Train staff, Biamp sent a representative to Calgary and provided classroom training and onsite instruction for system technicians. This training enabled C-Train technicians to troubleshoot the system and detect possible issues before they become noticeable to passengers or interfere with train schedules.
Calgary Transit appreciated Vocia’s ease-of-use, as well as the increased efficiency and improved communication it provides. With Vocia, transit managers can operate all elements from a centralized location, allowing announcements or programming changes to occur in real time. Prior to the upgrade, any alterations had to be made at the individual stations. Biamp’s solution delivered an audio solution that helps to improve the commuting experience for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use C-Train each day, and supports future expansion as Calgary’s transit needs continue to evolve.