Philly Transit: New Wayfinding Master Plan

Read Time: 2 minutes

Philadelphia’s rapid transit network moves thousands of people each day across the southeast region of Pennsylvania. SEGD member firm Entro recently played a major role in designing the network’s new wayfinding master plan. Anna Crider, SEGD Board President and Principal at ENTRO, will present this project on Thursday, November 4, at the 2021 SEGD Conference Experience in Philadelphia. Join us!

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) recently released its Wayfinding Master Plan with the aim of making Philadelphia’s rail transit network more accessible and easier to navigate. Entro collaborated with SEPTA, its riders and many other stakeholders over the past year to develop concepts for a new name and visual identifier for the network, as well as new route names, wayfinding signage, and maps.

The network includes the Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, Norristown High Speed Line, and the City and Suburban trolleys, which together move hundreds of thousands of people each day across the region.

At the outset, SEPTA was aware that the rail transit wayfinding signage was inconsistent and often difficult to understand. Through extensive research—where Entro conducted station walk-throughs and engaged SEPTA riders through surveys, workshops, and interviews—the design firm gained insight into the needs and perspectives of the diverse communities who use the system.

Based on this input, the goal was to develop a wayfinding program that was more accessible and universal, easily understood by new riders looking to access different areas of the city at different times of day (not just 9-to-5 commuters), and non-English speakers. It was also a priority to build off what is culturally important in the existing system.

To create a more intuitive transit experience, the Entro team started with the brand and then extended their focus to the development of a clear and concise visual vocabulary and information hierarchy. The proposed system name — “Metro” — and its corresponding system identifier will help riders easily recognize stations at street level. Each route will be identified by its own color (many carried over from the existing system for easy recognition) and a single letter. By using both colors and letters, the wayfinding information can be understood by non-English speakers and people with color vision deficiency.

Before moving forward with implementation and finalizing recommendations, SEPTA will engage in a two-month feedback period with information boards at select stations introducing the new wayfinding system and an online portal.
Find out more about this exciting project at the 2021 SEGD Conference Experience in Philadelphia where Anna Crider presents “Community First: Redesigning SEPTA” on Thursday, November 4, 2021. And to read more about the project, visit SEPTA’s Wayfinding Master Plan.

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