Improving easy transfer and wayfinding by effective signage, indoor-navigation and robots

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Improving easy transfer and wayfinding by effective signage, indoor-navigation and robots

Focused on essential wayfinding: The city of Vienna for example established common symbols for touristic attractions that are used throughout the city for wayfinding and on maps as well as on all PT information on the spot in the internet and in printed information brochures.

Focused on an elaborated dynamic seamless routing app including indoor-navigation the regional public transport authority RMV (RTPA running the integrated system that includes also the PT in Frankfurt) piloted an indoor navigation application within the DYNAMO project. The approach required modelling of Bockenheimer Warte station and installation of bluetooth transmitters, while WLAN information was not good enough for detailed navigation. Bluetooth transmitters are enabling a good quality for indoor navigation in stations at credible expenses. They are easy to install because passive dots need no power connection and Public Transport stations can be configured by the dots easily. See

At Schiphol airport a robot called 'Spencer' is being tested that will help KLM passengers to come from one gate to another. The robot is aiming to avoid missed connections caused by delays, short transit times, road or language problems. The University of Twente has developed the pilot robot together with six other European partners. The robot provides detailed maps of Schiphol Airport to route passengers. Due to laser eyes 'Spencer' is able to measure distances and detect obstacles, such as baggage rolls and also takes care of the people around him: he checks whether the group he guides is still following him and stops nicely when another group crosses his path. The concept could be transferred to other airlines, airports, major train stations or extended to assist reaching connections between plane and national trains or local Public Transport system at the airport (

Indoor-Routing: Smart phone design should orientate on existing routing and timetable online services and apps already developed from the Public Transport provider.

Wayfinding Robots and assisting systems should provide existing (online) information materials and be able to connect to existing services and should be able to forward to service and customer care if problems occur.

Robots: Key actions should be the finding of co-operation with a research and/or service provider, Which supporting conditions should  be guaranteed: resources, procedures, supervisions, quality/outcomes control, etc.

Improving wayfinding is very important for actually each Public Transport user, but especially crucial for new and unexperienced users and everyone that is not familiar with the city and the system especially in larger urban areas, where orientation is needed in general. This is a key point to lower access barriers for new customers.
There is a wide range of possibilities where improvements can be made. Including for example the basic approach to implement fixed simple and necessary signage, where needed, containing only the essential information at the place, as well as establishing individual dynamic indoor-navigation in Public Transport stations trough smartphone navigation.
In general to implement improvements costs are relatively high and need time to be realised.

At the end, wayfinding is best when it is present only where you need information and gives you only that essential information you need to make your decision (where to go, where you are).

For example, if you arrive in an underground station, looking forward to reach your destination a sign should show you the directions where you can find the bus stops connecting the station, the tramps or the exit whether there are different exits and directions. The next decision you might have to take is from where your bus line departs.

Signage has to be simple and easy to understand with a high contrast and common symbols and should function with or without colours. Wayfinding information should be given on a base of at least two way communication channels (visual, audio or sense), so perception is higher in general and people with disabilities are integrated. Symbols should use colours, but they should work without them in order to provide information for colour blind people.

All symbols should look the same and should be used throughout the city. For ease of use, this should include not only common symbols for means of transport but moving stairs, elevators and information for mobility restricted users and general attractions.

A simple signage that is easy-to-understand commonly used and constructive for the customer is hard to implement. The ease of use for the user is facing a major challenge in general to gain a good wayfinding. It requires many stakeholders working together especially if they will be integrated, beyond Public Transport operation, in all kind of signage and communication of the city. On the other hand, any change requires big budgets, because it is related to infrastructure and needs to be done throughout the whole network and in all vehicles in similar quality to be reliable.

On a more elaborated level, the upcoming availability of smart phones and mobile internet gives a wide set of opportunities for navigation on the surface, while indoor and underground navigation is still limited, but in reach and already piloted.

  • ITS
  • Marketing and promotion, customer care
  • Service models, organization and management

General concept
Metropolitan areas
Increase customer satisfaction
  • Better experience
  • Improve accessibility
  • Improve comfort
  • Improve safety and security
  • Improving customer orientation
  • Increase promotion

  • Globalization
  • Innovative technologies

Supporting actions to pilot strongly ITS related measures need to involve a service provider, co-operate with a research institutes and to survey and evaluate the pilot to gain and document experiences. It can be accompanied by a marketing campaign and public relations measurements to support the pilot get the users aware to test and join the pilot and to benefit from the investment in several ways.

Medium (4 to 8 months)
High (MEuro for an implementation)
Medium (between 5 and 50 KEuro)
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