Gateway Arch

St. Louis, Missouri

Rising 630 feet above the ground, this steel monument is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a tribute to America’s westward expansion. Not only can guests visit historical sites at the park, but a series of internal tram cars will take them to the top of the Arch. Once there, a set of viewing ports along the top edge gives them an impressive view towards the horizon.

TA was contacted about designing a completely new audio system to replace the existing one located inside the Arch. After 30 years of service, its performance was lacking due to obsolete components and overall wear and tear. During a programming session to determine requirements for the new system, it was decided that the new audio system needed to handle a more complex arrangement of digital and multiple inputs. The overall goal was to improve the experience for the guests while being able to cross-sell different activities within the park grounds.

The new design incorporates an automatic message system for sending pre-recorded announcements into the tram cars. When the tram cars arrive at the load/unload areas, they trigger the system to begin an initial safety message, starting the ride. Guests listen to interesting facts about the Arch on their way to the top. On the way down, the safety message is followed by marketing announcements about activities in the park. A paging system and revised loudspeaker locations increase the system’s intelligibility and allow the staff to answer guests’ questions while they wait in the queue line.

In addition to redesigning the audio system, Thorburn Associates also oversaw the bidding process in order to pick the most responsive contractor for the job. During installation of the system, we provided site visits to ensure that strict requirements were being followed. The end result is a system which performs exactly the way the client expected and enhances the guests’ visit to this popular tourist attraction. The choice of components was also carefully considered so that this new system would provide another 30 years of continuous service.

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