Synectics has delivered a train-to-ground solution that will enable a major European rapid transit operator to receive, manage and respond to on-vehicle passenger help requests remotely from a central command centre.

Following a year-long competitive tender process – which identified Synectics as the most suitable provider to deliver against the technical requirements involved – the global surveillance specialist was chosen to design and deploy the tailored solution across 680 trains servicing the capital city.

To answer the brief, Synectics developed an “audio gateway” hardware solution which interfaces with the customer’s on-vehicle passenger help system to enable audio in/audio out transmission via the train’s cellular modem.

Using Synectics’ Synergy command and control platform to integrate the communications data, authorised personnel based at a central command centre are alerted when an on-vehicle help button is triggered. From the Synergy platform, the operative can liaise directly with the passenger and implement any further reactive protocols required.

David Aindow, Synectics’ Product and Technology Director, explained: “As soon as a passenger presses the help point button, command centre personnel are notified of the event. They are presented with vital on-screen data, including the train’s identification, the current location is shown on a live map using GPS data, and route details.

“Using integrated VoIP software, they can have a two-way conversation with the passenger to determine and hopefully resolve the issue. If necessary, any further responsive action using Synergy, for example, issuing instructions to the driver or alerting transport police to an evolving situation, can be implemented.”

The new solution has replaced the operator’s existing solution, which directed passenger help requests directly to the driver.

Jürgen Fuchs, Director Strategic Projects commented: “Most passenger help requests relate to service provision queries or general journey information – inquiries the driver is not always best placed to answer.

“This new system ensures passengers needing help are immediately connected with the best source of information, namely personnel with an overarching view of the network. As well as improving customer service provision, taking the burden of response away from drivers also means they are not distracted from their ultimate responsibility, to ensure passengers arrive at their destination safely and on time.”