In 2017, Ottawa Tourism enlisted Entro to conduct research to assess the feasibility for a unified pedestrian wayfinding system in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Their research was aimed at understanding usage, perceived travel times to key destinations, benefits of a wayfinding program, design criteria and feasibility of implementation.
A unified wayfinding system for the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau poses a significant challenge as the cities are separated by a large waterway and located in different provinces where residents predominantly speak different languages. As part of the study, a best practice analysis of similar worldwide wayfinding systems was undertaken in order to determine what features would be best suited for Ottawa-Gatineau.
The findings and recommendations detailed in the final report address funding models, sign functionality, strategic sign locations and the type of information to be displayed on signage among other things.
A pilot area plan was established and a wayfinding strategy developed that would allow a small centralized area of Ottawa-Gatineau to be tested. The project was met with encouraging feedback from the government, BIAs, stakeholders and the public. A funding exercise is now underway to secure funding for the pilot project.