>Transit Wayfinding


One of the interesting comments at the parking hearing I attended was from one of my panel-mates, a businessman from Adams Morgan. He stated that if people only knew that the 42 bus went to Adams Morgan from Dupont Circle, more people would ride there. Right now the headsigns from Dupont Circle only say "42 – Mt. Pleasant", because that’s the ultimate destination, but Adams Morgan is on the way.

This brings up an interesting debate about what the balance should be between overwhelming people with too much information (i.e., the metro station "U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo) and not providing enough information (i.e., the station named "Smithsonian", which is not the closest stop for many of the museums).

Another example of this issue was when I saw a family having trouble with a metro farecard machine. Turns out they were just trying to figure out which station the Verizon Center was at. Normally I would say that we should try to keep our station names short to avoid cluttering the map. When the destination is as popular as the Verizon Center and visited by many people that don’t normally take Metro, we should probably add the name to the system.

Metrobus operates the 38B, dubbed the “Orange Line with a view”.  The buses feature prominent Metrorail-style graphics showing station names similar to those on the Orange Line.  This might be an example of a best practice for buses:  Show the major neighborhoods but not every stop.  Brand the bus with a specific purpose, and give people an idea of what’s going to be on the route.

What should the balance be? Should we list all the major neighborhoods traversed by a bus line, or just say "Silver Spring via 16th Street", as in the case of the S lines?


About perkinsms

I'm an engineer and father interested in transit, parking and economics.
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One Response to >Transit Wayfinding

  1. Phil Lepanto says:

    >Great post!I was just thinking about this yesterday when I was transferring between the Green Line and the Red Line and couldn’t rememeber whether it was Glenmont or Shady Grove that was the terminal station of the direction I wished to travel.I know there is also interest in the fact that the Columbia Heights Metro Station might include “Mt. Pleasant” since the proximty of that neighborhood is similar to the relationship between Woodley Park and Adams Morgan.Finally, I think it would be interesting to discuss coming up with more descriptive names or designations for bus routes. “42” vs. “S4” doesn’t indicate any thing. Of course, neither does “Red Line”, but at least it is a less complex system.

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