National Academies Press: OpenBook

Improving Intelligibility of Airport Terminal Public Address Systems (2017)

Chapter: Chapter 10 - Public Address System Announcements

« Previous: Chapter 9 - Commissioning Public Address Systems
Page 100
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 10 - Public Address System Announcements." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Intelligibility of Airport Terminal Public Address Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24839.
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Page 100
Page 101
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 10 - Public Address System Announcements." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Intelligibility of Airport Terminal Public Address Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24839.
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Page 101
Page 102
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 10 - Public Address System Announcements." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Intelligibility of Airport Terminal Public Address Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24839.
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Page 102

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100 10.1 Introduction Guidance developed in Chapter 5 and based on human factors is presented here to improve how passengers respond to and understand PA announcements. The basic guidance consists of the following points: 1. Use key words, or “hooks” at the beginning of the announcement to draw passenger attention to PA messages. 2. Clearly state if information presented is a change to that previously given 3. Keep messages simple and concise. 4. Announcements should be spoken clearly and at a measured pace. 5. Play or announce important messages twice consecutively. 6. Minimize audio clutter. 7. Consider using the female voice for specific types of announcements where factors chal- lenge listeners and reduce attention or intelligibility (e.g., international terminal, text- to-speech). 8. Flight information, and in particular updates, should be presented consistently across PA announcements and FIDS to avoid conflicts and confusion. 10.2 Announcement Content 10.2.1 Recording Quality • CD recording quality • Low background noise (e.g., 35 dBA or lower) • High-quality microphone and gain structure to eliminate distortion in the recording (see Chapter 7) 10.2.2 Announcement Information • Use key words, or “hooks,” such as flight destinations, at the beginning of the announcement to draw passenger attention to PA messages. • Clearly state if information presented is a change to that previously given (e.g., a gate change). • The message should be meaningful and grammatically correct. • Keep messages simple and concise. An example might be: “Denver, Denver, Flight XY123 to Denver now boarding at Gate 4.” Figure 10-1 shows this example broken down into announcement information components. C h a p t e r 1 0 Public Address System Announcements

public address System announcements 101 10.3 Announcement Delivery and Live Announcements Prerecorded announcements tend to be made by professionals or staff members trained and skilled in speaking into a microphone and announcement delivery. The following apply to all announcements and should be included in basic training for all gate agents and any crew or staff likely to make an announcement under normal or emergency conditions. • Clearly state if the instruction within the PA message is a change to previously given or expected information. For instance, “This is a gate change.” • Ensure that the message is played or spoken in isolation and does not overlap with neighbor- ing gate announcements. • Speak announcements clearly and at a measured pace. Do not chew gum or have similar items in the mouth. • Keep messages short and concise. Use clear speech. Keep conversational, chatty messages to a minimum. Remove unnecessary greetings or polite expressions. • Be aware of diction and timing. Also be aware that the female voice can provide better intel- ligibility of audio messages and could be more efficacious for specific types of announce- ments where other factors challenge listeners and reduce attention or intelligibility (e.g., inter national terminal, text-to-speech). 10.4 Automated Announcements Because automated announcements can be tuned out as audio clutter (refer to Chapter 5 for more detailed discussion) or increase the ambient noise levels and reduce PA system SNR, care should be taken to avoid overexposing passengers and other building visitors. From an operations perspective, automated announcements mean that staffing load can be reduced or reallocated for more urgent or time-sensitive tasks, while ensuring that necessary information is provided to the public reliably with known frequency. 10.5 Artificial Voice Systems For text-to-speech (TTS) or synthesized voice, the following guidance is available: • Consider using a slightly higher TTS signal level (5 dB) compared to natural voice announcements. • Repeat the important TTS message to allow passengers to adjust to the synthesized voice. • Minimize use of TTS messages in areas where challenging conditions to speech intelligibility exist (e.g., highly reverberant space or high percentage of non-native language passengers.) Initial identifying information ‘hook’ to draw passenger attention Repetition of identifying information confirm identifying information Name + Flight Destination = confirmation for the passenger that this is specific to them KEY INSTRUCTION Short, concise message “Denver, Denver, Flight XY123 to Denver now boarding at Gate 4” Source: CCD Figure 10-1. Announcement information example.

102 Improving Intelligibility of airport terminal public address Systems 10.6 Message Cuing Use the following to alert passengers to an impending announcement: • Precede each announcement with a notable break in background music to draw attention to and provide a cue for the announcement. • Precede announcements with short, familiar tones, particularly for emergency messages. • Associate tones with specific types of announcements. • For gate areas in close proximity, do not overlap messages, especially messages with tones.

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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Research Report 175: Improving Intelligibility of Airport Terminal Public Address Systems provides design guidelines to improve public address systems for all types and sizes of airport terminal environments. The guidelines include a summary of data on public address systems, terminal finishes and background noise levels in a variety of airport terminals, identification of acoustical shortcomings, and the results of impacts on existing public address systems. The report provides options for enhancing intelligibility in existing airport terminals as well as ensuring intelligibility in new terminal designs.

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