“Where will this train take me?” “Will I make it to my appointment on time?” “Can I use my wheelchair on this bus?” – these are just some of the critical questions wayfinding answers for public transport users.
Through carefully planned signage, information points and navigation, wayfinding provides public transport systems with a face and voice to help people of all abilities navigate systems safely, intuitively and cohesively.
Adelaide’s approach to wayfinding was inconsistent, making it difficult and confusing for people unfamiliar with the city to make quick and accurate transport decisions, often resulting in stress and anxiety for people with limited mobility.
In 2020, we partnered with the Government of South Australia’s Department of Infrastructure and Transport and local design studio, Arketype Industrial Design, to develop the state’s first Wayfinding Rulebook specific to public transport. We provided transport planning, user experience, wayfinding design and project management to create a rulebook which improves the commuting experience, encouraging more people to use public transport.
The Rulebook considers the entire commuter journey, from multiple perspectives, from trip-planning through to interchanging and the last mile of reaching a destination. Adelaide’s commuters and visitors now have a simpler wayfinding system with clean and simple signage, and information points helping make Adelaide a more user-friendly, safe, accessible and liveable city.
1st wayfinding rulebook for Adelaide
3collaborative design stages
200+ community feedback responses
A collaborative and holistic wayfinding design approach
Good wayfinding design considers the entire passenger journey, from trip planning through to interchanging and last mile of reaching a destination. It also considers the journey from multiple perspectives, ensuring people of all ages and abilities can travel with safety and ease.
To create a rulebook reflecting this, we formed a collaborative, integrated experience design team with our transport planners, experience designers and project managers. To understand the customer journey, we underwent a process with three distinct stages with our team, client, and Arketype Industrial Design:
Project definition workshop: a collaborative workshop to agree on the project vision, scope and problem and working approach.
Walkshop: together we walked around sites across Adelaide to experience what it was like to catch public transport. We discussed the challenges, pain points and opportunities and gained appreciation and empathy for commuters.
Customer journey workshop: using the walkshop insights we brought in technical insights from our client’s network planning, asset management, customer satisfaction and disability access experts and our team to define the customer journey and create a consolidated customer journey map to inform the wayfinding design.
Improving the public transport customer experience and increasing public transport patronage are key objectives of both the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) and the South Australian Public Transport Authority (SAPTA). The Rulebook has enabled DIT and SAPTA to deliver a consistent suite of signage across the Adelaide Metro network. ” Paul Silvestri Network Planner, South Australian Public Transport Authority
Prototyping creates inclusive and community-led design outcomes
To ensure our design reflected the lived experience of public transport users in Adelaide, we needed to test our wayfinding design with real people catching public transport.
Working with the South Australian Public Transport Authority disability access and inclusion leaders, we held a customer diversity and inclusion workshop to test our customer journey map against best-practice research in universal design. Creating personas helped ensure we included a range of use cases, ages and abilities in our design considerations.
Using temporary signs, over a two-week period, people used our wayfinding design and provided feedback through a form, accessed via a QR code. Over 200 feedback responses were collected from the community and used to inform the Wayfinding Rulebook. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, validating the value of our design approach.
The Wayfinding Rulebook touches every person in Adelaide using public transport. Our design approach ensures people of all ages and abilities can travel through the city with calm and ease. ” Daniel Osborne Transport Planning Leader, South Australia
Improving South Australia’s public transport experience
The Wayfinding Rulebook is now embedded into all South Australian public transport projects. Since 2019, over 3000 bus stops, eight bus interchanges, 15 train stations/tram stops, timetables, maps, promotional campaigns and disruption signage have been updated in line with the rulebook.