Reference Project:Loudspeaker announcements at Wiener Linien

Project Overview

  • Fault reports are created centrally in the Wiener Linien control center and sent (among others) to the operators of the Wien Mobil app
  • The app operators send the reports to Sign Time GmbH
  • Sign Time automatically translates the message into sign language via avatar and stores the video on a video server. The link will be sent to the operators of the app.
  • The sign language symbol appears next to each fault message in the Wien Mobil app. When tapped, the video opens in sign language.
  • The loudspeaker announcements via avatar in sign language have been in test operation since April 2022 and are played out via the Wien Mobil app
  • An accompanying research project is being carried out by the Technical University (TU) Vienna to further improve the degree of automation

Project Description

  • Public transport disruption information is automatically interpreted into sign language and displayed directly to the deaf passengers with the help of animated videos in the app on their smartphone.
  • If an underground train cannot operate in the Wiener Linien network, there are announcements in vehicles and stations, as well as information on the website and in the WienMobil app. Wiener Linien want to make this information even more easily accessible for around 10,000 deaf people in Austria and 500,000 in Europe. For them, sign language is their mother tongue and information in “our language” is often difficult to understand. For this reason, it is important for Wiener Linien to provide disruption information in their own language. The solution: animated videos with the virtual Wiener Linien employee, the “Avatar Iris”.
  • Passenger information in public transport is highly standardized. Wiener Linien takes advantage of this with the sign avatar: the approximately 5,000 stations in the Wiener Linien network and around 30 types of disruption can be translated in advance. In the event of a fault, the information is translated almost live and automatically from spoken to sign language. The animated videos are to be played back in the WienMobil app, which accompanies the Viennese through their everyday public transport with digital tickets and passenger information.

Wiener Linien is thus playing a pioneering role internationally

  • So that all passengers can travel flexibly and safely with Wiener Linien, accessibility is a central concern when designing the vehicles and stations, as well as the guidance and orientation systems. Research and development in the digital field is an important component of accessibility. Wiener Linien is thus playing a pioneering role internationally. “The app is developed and tested together with a team of deaf passengers from the start. It is important to us that it is ensured right from the research stage that the experiences of the target group are incorporated into the design of the avatar,” says Hans-Jürgen Groß, Group Representative for Accessibility at Wiener Stadtwerke.