N.Y. wayfinding maps help subway users orient themselves

Posted on August 12, 2014

Photo courtesy WalkNYC
Photo courtesy WalkNYC
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) teamed to install new wayfinding maps throughout the city, making it easier for subway customers to orient themselves and learn what a neighborhood has to offer as they step out of a subway station.

The next generation of the subway system’s helpful neighborhood map is being installed in all 468 subway stations.

Previously, the MTA had 68 different neighborhood maps in stations around the system. The same map was used in several stations and covered a radius between 15 and 30 blocks. At 46 x 59 inches, the new maps are identical in size to the old neighborhood maps, but with a coverage radius of about 12 blocks, they provide each station with a unique map centered on the station.

The new maps use the same base map as DOT’s WalkNYC wayfinding signage program, which provides detailed, location-specific maps and directional information to people navigating the city’s streets. However, they have been adapted to the subway with lighter base colors; subway lines and station footprints; and local, limited and Select Bus Service (SBS) routes.

So far, DOT has employed the maps on its pedestrian wayfinding signs, on Citi Bike kiosks and at prototype installations of the new SBS totems, which provide real-time bus arrival information at SBS stations using MTA’s BusTime data feed. With the addition of these new neighborhood maps in the subway, there will be a standard wayfinding map for pedestrians, transit riders and cyclists alike for the first time in New York City history.

The WalkNYC wayfinding system was designed for DOT and adapted for MTA’s use in the subway by PentaCityGroup, a joint venture between City ID, Pentagram, T-Kartor, Billings Jackson Design and RBA Group.

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