FOI request detail

Announcers on the Underground

Request ID: FOI-3464-2324
Date published: 12 February 2024

You asked

Dear Sir/Madam, I would like to know how TFL selects the people that voice the announcements on the Underground - where TFL selects people from and what TFL looks for in a voice. I would also like to know what the selection process is like when choosing these people. I couldn't find a specific address on the TFL website. Please direct this to the appropriate person. I look forward to hearing back. Happy New Year

We answered

Our ref: FOI-3464-2324

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 03 January 2024 asking for information about our announcements.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

There are several criteria TfL considers when sourcing a voice artist to use on London Underground trains. The approach is ever adapting, and where possible TfL works to incorporate their Customer Experience research as best practice. (The latest piece of research is copyrighted by 2CV and cannot be shared as any part of a FOI request).

The independent research (conducted by 2CV) outlines in detail the types of voices that our customers find most appealing and why. During the research, a variety of different voices were played to a focus group and to around 1,000 London Underground customers via an online questionnaire. Both the sample voices and participants were varied in age (all were 18+), ethnicity and gender, and the sample voices were varied in delivery style, intonation, pitch etc.

A summary of qualities that our customers say are important to them and some of the key research findings are as follows:
  • Customers are looking for a voice that feels ‘real’ and relatable.
  • Customers value warmth, a consistent pace, and an uplifting energy
  • Female voices are more likely to be perceived as non-threatening, evoking feelings of safety, security, and reassurance.
  • Neutral female voices are engaging and attention grabbing (whilst male voices are less likely to cut through the noise)
In addition to the above, TfL must also consider the following:
  • The type of announcement needed and the time frame/urgency of delivery (for example, due to exceptional circumstances such as national lockdowns and furloughs creating a sourcing issue, temporary COVID-19-related announcements were produced in-house to ensure the quickest delivery)
  • Type of update/project (long term/short term use of messaging, i.e. is this a voice used for testing only or is it permanent)
  • What train stock they are being used for
  • Cost of updating train fleet
  • Supplier responsibility – it is important to note, pending the type of project, update, and train fleet, the voice artist may be provided and sourced by the supplier directly who manages the CIS system.
  • Availability of voice artist
  • Cost of voice artist
  • Whether the voice aligns with our brand values of warm/friendly/caring
  • Customer feedback
  • Operational constraints/requirements
With regards to “from where TFL selects the announcers”, we do not source voice artists from one single place as this depends on several commercial, legal, project and/or supplier factors.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Tahsin Prima
FOI Case Officer
General Counsel
Transport for London


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