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Synthesed text-to-speech traffic information for French drivers. 8/3/04
French tolling operator SANEF (Société des Autoroutes du Nord et de l'Est de la France), is to provide a limited, automatic text-to-speech, real-time, traffic information service on the French traffic radio, 107.7 FM for drivers in north-east France, including Paris.

Claimed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world, the night-time only service operates between 11pm and 6am and has an on-call radio presenter to deal with any exceptional incidents. Using voice-recognition software, incoming data is converted to speech and broadcast seven days a week with the potential for 24 hour a day cover. Traffic information is provided during daylight hours by other service providers.

The service has its own intelligence and is capable of managing several incidents simultaneously by determining the order of priority. Speech synthesis allows immediate notification and follow up of events, from their detection to their closure.

"The service (is) a key tool for our operations, traffic management and safety activities," said Jean-Luc Pierrepont, in charge of SANEF Traffic Management. "It allows us to guarantee up-to-date information is provided in real-time, and therefore makes our operations more efficient."

The off-the-shelf software system from Elan Speech, needed to be fine-tuned by the SANEF team to meet their specific requirements in terms of traffic vocabulary. The contents of the messages are, claims SANEF, designed to make sure the announcements are as intelligible as possible for the drivers travelling on the network.

In the Isle-de-France area of Paris, another tolling operator, Cofiroute, has decided to go down a similar route, with the introduction of a premium text-to-speech service for drivers. Going head-to-head with the freely available FM 107.7 service, the Cofiroute Traffic-One system relies on subscribers using their mobile 'phones at a cost of €0.34 a minute. Its advantage over its public broadcast rival is its ability to provide information specific to a particular journey. Cofiroute claim that the system is capable of handling up to 200 simultaneous calls for information. The text-to-speech software for the Cofiroute system was proved by ScanSoft.

Further information, contact:
Elan Speech : Caroline Houël, ; +33 562 247 100 or visit
SANEF : Sébastien Bartaud, , +33 344 637 752,
or visit Scansoft on:
or Cofiroute on
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