Integrated intuitive wayfinding system for pedestrians

These few pictures are from a tourist-oriented city. No, not Ottawa.

This is a cross walk, of course. You recognized it right a way. Red, for visibility. With a decorative wiggling line through the middle that invites walkers. Very unrigid.

And this is a similar shot, except now we can see both this intersection and the adjacent cross walk. The line leads the pedestrian on to the park and to harbour front area. Note the lack of signs on posts explaining to pedestrians that this is the way to walk.

And the line continues through the park, leading us to the harbour and ferry dock. Imagine, walkway, cross walk, integrated in design, look, and feel. The adjacent sculptures (buoys on sticks) adds to the atmosphere. Largish beds of taller grasses introduce a natural-yet-somebody-cares feel.

I didn’t notice any motorists flummoxed by the ‘different’ design. Everyone seemed to understand what was going on. Instead of looking around lost, or needing frequent wayfinding signs, the sidewalk provided an integrated self-guided pedestrian tour and wayfinding system.

What are the chances we could ever see this in Ottawa?

For a start, consider such an intuitive wayfinding system exiting from the downtown east OLRT station and leading to Parliament Hill or Confederation Square. Instead of signs on posts, the occasional icon on the path is all that is needed.

I wonder if Downtown Moves will be offering simple solutions like this?

4 thoughts on “Integrated intuitive wayfinding system for pedestrians

  1. The City of Boston has the nice Freedom Trail through downtown that is marked like this and makes it easy for a tourist to follow a well designed “guided” free tour. That could be another model for Ottawa.

  2. Great idea.

    One idea I really like from my travels was the Barbary Coast Trail in San Francisco. You could buy a guide book from the tourist centre and it had a map ( that took you past highlights of the city’s history. You would see large bronze seals in the sidewalk and look up the entries in the guidebook to learn what happened there. It was like a guided walking tour, except at your own pace and schedule, and suited to your own interests.

    It was organized by the local historical society.

  3. These are excellent ideas for our Capital City !! Anything to rid us of the eyesore signs and postings that clutter the scene !! That “Barbary Coast Trail” suggestion is really excellent! I was there also and found it so relaxing to be guided by the bronze seals in the sidewalk! Parliament Hill should be directed too in this way. The NCC could design something simple and yet officail looking to bring tourists to the Peace Tower and other important sites like the Art Gallery!

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