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New wayfinding signage is going up around the region

Old and new bus stop signs in North Vancouver. You can hardly see the old sign!

Astute riders may have noticed some new signage up at bus stops and transit exchanges in the region lately! It’s all part of our new wayfinding strategy, designed to help everyone better understand the transit system. (For more, check out Robert’s overview post on the strategy here.)

I got planner Jeff Deby to help explain what new signage is out there right now. Here we go!

New signage at selected bus stops

The old and new bus stop plates.

First, stops that currently have narrow bus stop signage are being replaced with new T-plates, which also carry text identifying the location of the stop.

You can probably guess why these are an improvement on the old signs, but here’s a list anyway:

  • You can now quickly see the bus stop from far away
  • You now know the exact location of the bus stop
  • The location written on the sign matches the location description in our trip planner and the audio announcements on the bus!

The replacement work is starting in North Vancouver, and the majority of their stops with narrow signage should be changed over this year—about 200 have been installed so far. (North Vancouver was already scheduled for regular bus stop signage replacement work this year, so that’s why we’ve started there first.)

New maps and signage at transit exchanges

The new Regional Transit Map. Click the image to download a large PDF version.

Detail of the Regional Transit Map.

The next big development is the new wayfinding signage up at selected SkyTrain stations and their associated bus loops—all the downtown Expo and Millennium Line stations, plus Lonsdale Quay, Marine Drive, Richmond-Brighouse, Bridgeport, and New Westminster. (And soon, new maps and signage will be installed at Expo Line stations, included with the renovations to install faregates.)

That includes updated maps showing nearby bus routes, locations where you can walk to, and a brand new Regional Transit Map! Grab it as a PDF here.

The Regional Transit Map shows ALL the transit service in our system, and the new version has lots of great improvements, including:

  • It’s a large format that shows the entire transit system on one page (the previous version stopped just past Pitt Meadows—you had to look on the back for Langley and Maple Ridge)
  • Regular service and limited service buses are clearly distinguished (so riders know not to expect buses that run just in the peak to come along all day)
  • Bus routes are easier to follow, as the lines have been carefully distinguished in tricky spots on the map
  • NightBus has been separated out as its own map, so riders won’t think NightBuses are available during the day
  • the Frequent Transit Network corridors are now shown, so you can figure out which streets to quickly catch a bus!

(Eagle eyes will also note that the Frequent Transit Network highlighting on this map is consistent with the colours used on the actual Frequent Transit Network map, too. Synergy!)

New loop signage

Stops at these bus loops also have new signage, to better indicate the bay locations and the associated buses at those stops.

In the future, all bus stops that have routes listed on them will look like these loop stops!

Next steps

The full rollout will continue throughout the region in the coming year, especially in concert with renovation projects and the like. And signs will also be replaced on an ongoing basis around the region as needed: for example, if a bus stop gets damaged.

We don’t have confirmed dates on the rollout yet, but we will keep you updated as it unfolds. If you have specific feedback, please make sure to submit it through the Customer Feedback Form or at 604-953-3333, so we can log your concern and get it to the wayfinding team.

And of course, your comments are welcome below!


65 Comments

  • By Josh, May 15, 2012 @ 9:28 am

    What about platform-level SkyTrain signage. I noticed they redid New Westminster Station… and had upgraded Columbia, Commercial, and Waterfront with slightly different signage a few years ago. The system needs uniformity.

  • By Chris, Public Transport, May 15, 2012 @ 9:51 am

    It looks like your new bus stop sign for “minor” stops does not have the route numbers on them. Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to put the route numbers on all the new stops?

  • By DB, May 15, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    If you’re going to be customizing the standard bus stop signs (ie, each one will have unique location info) could consider adding information on what route(s) and destinations are served at that stop? For the example, maybe include ’214 to Phibbs Exchange’ on the sign?

    The big map sure is nice though, and good work on highlighting the FTN…

  • By Allan K, May 15, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    Hrm. The only problem I have with adding such large bus stop signs and bus route info to the minor stops is that they make it less obvious where major mid-route transfer points are.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 15, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    Chris, DB, Allan K:

    I asked about that too actually. So first, we have roughly 9,000 stops in our system. In general, we don’t put all the route numbers on all the stops, because the labour and maintenance of those signs would get quite challenging and probably expensive. (We have to manufacture the sign, get someone out to switch the signs out, change it when routes change, etc etc.)

    And if routes are changing frequently, or there’s a lot of reroutes, then you’d have to do a huge amount of sign changes fairly frequently. Which is also probably not efficient or cost effective.

    “Major” stops which do have all routes listed are generally in busy areas where people need much more help navigating the system — like downtown Vancouver and major bus corridors. That being said, there aren’t any hard and fast rules about which stop is considered a “minor” stop and which one is a “major” stop requiring all routes. Mostly it’s at the discretion of our staff, where history and customer demand has shown that we need better signage.

    Hope that helps!

  • By SS, May 15, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    From what I’ve noticed, most suburban or rural area does not have route number on the sign except the one before and after the intersection where two or more routes intersect, converges, or diverges. Timing point and terminus stops (ie. where the bus changes from outbound to inbound on a loop) seems to also have route number on the stop.

    Regarding to the regional transit map, it is meant to replace the current system map on the transit guide, printed schedule, and posted on the website?

    Two errors I’ve noticed:
    – The C47 north to Yennadon should be limited service as there’s only 6 trips on weekdays (small error but it really stands out on that map).
    – The C25 serves Anmore and Belcarra late night in place of the C26, but showing it correctly would make the map so much more confusing.
    – Since this is a regional map, would it better to show or at least mention the connection to ValleyMax route 21 to Abbotsford at Aldergrove?

  • By Marvin B, May 15, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    Seems a waste of money to me. It’s just cosmetic. Shouldn’t things like this be put on hold in a time where projects such as the highway 1 rapid bus are suspended? When upgrades to the system can’t be afforded, spending money on what is essentially a paint job is unjustified in my opinion.

  • By Cliff, May 15, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

    If memory serves me correctly, doesn’t the following apply to bus stops?

    If three or more routes service a single stop, it gets a detailed sign.

    If the stop is at the intersection of two or more routes, it gets a detailed sign.

    Also, I think ALL stops in the downtown core get detailed signs, to help with tourists.

    Bus stops that are only served by one route during peak hours only get a little tab underneath stating that is the case, but often no route information otherwise.

    I think that covers it, but I’m only going by memory from what I think was written here on the blog in its early days.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 15, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    @Marvin

    I think that she explained it clearly already. Since they are already dealing with signage, they will save money and time, by introducing better quality signs at the same time. The old signs are difficult to see.

    I have experienced the same problem. I was roughly in between 2 bus stops, but could not see for sure if they were where I thought they were. Better signage would have helped.

    When walking between bus stops in Surrey, a customer could waste a lot of time, if he goes in the worst direction.

  • By Alton, May 15, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    Yup, seems like a waste of money to me, especially with all the cut backs and what not happening. Seems that they get everything in place, and then change it again. Talk about wasteful. But what do I know, I’m just a citizen concerned about his tax dollars. What will this ‘improvement’ cost anyways?

  • By Dominik, May 15, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    I dont think that this is a waste of money.
    Making the transit system user-friendly means that more people will use public transportation. This process wont happen over the night, it takes some years.
    And if there are more people using transit, revenues go up.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 15, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

    Cliff: I did a search on the blog and can’t remember posting anything about a rationale for signage before. Do you remember where you found that info?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 15, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

    Josh:
    Yes, you’re correct—some of the signage in those stations were not
    designed to consistent standards. The current wayfinding project is a way to provide some consistency, and we’ll be rolling out signage to those stations when cost-effective opportunities arise.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 15, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    Alton:
    to add to what Dominik has said, I’m told by our wayfinding team that the new T-Plates cost the same to manufacture as the old “Bus Stop” plates. The old “Bus Stop” plates were metal and were one-sided, so there had to be two on every pole. The new ones are a composite material that is less expensive, and is printed on two sides. So there is actually more visibility at the same cost.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 15, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

    SS, Cliff, and I’m sure many more in the future: I’ve passed along your map correction suggestions to the wayfinding team for review.

  • By SS, May 15, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

    One more thing I’ve found is that the map missed the southern portion of C26 Buntzen Lake Special completely, between Ioco and Coquitlam Station — although I always think it should be better with a different route number..

  • By Alton, May 15, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

    Dominik: The only problem with that logic is that only a fraction of the revenues are from fares. Most of Translink’s revenue comes from property and gas tax. If everyone stopped driving their cars tomorrow, Translink would probably go bankrupt from the cash crunch.

    Knowing that they cost the same is actually good to know (and should be promoted as good value), specially in a time when Translink is cancelling projects and trying to come up with new funds. As an aside…how often are the signs replaced normally? And what happens to the old ones? They could be turned into some pretty cool art projects

  • By Robert W. White, May 15, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    I found another super simple error on the map – 264th out in Aldergrove is mislabeled as 164th. Great work otherwise!

  • By Allen, May 15, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    The major bus bay sign above does not show the bus logo – minor detail but not consistent with the other signs? Will people confuse it with a probable street level LRT service? (out of area visitors)

    In addition to bus stop number, QR code should be added as well so people can scan and link to the NextBus service on their smartphones.

  • By Mani, May 15, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    I had this idea that it is possible to include a QR code on each bus bay sign which would directly point to the [mobile] web page of the bus schedules on translink website.

  • By Reva, May 16, 2012 @ 3:04 am

    Will blue “T”s be applied somewhere to the exterior of transit vehicles as well? This would really solidify the new scheme. You see a big blue T drive by, then see a big blue T on a sign, you immediately know those things are connected.

    I think it would be better if the tiny bus symbol on the signs was a bit larger, and/or if the signs actually said “Bus Stop” on them somewhere. Otherwise I think the improved visibility of the new signs is great. One just went in near where I live, and you can see it for blocks!

  • By Kevin, May 16, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    In terms of wayfinding signage – Translink really needs to improve station signs at Skytrain stations, especially on the Expo Line.

    At present, station signage at many stations is on the opposite side of the tracks from the platform. So, for a series of stations, if you’re standing on the platform looking at an empty track, you can see the station sign. But if a train pulls in on both tracks, station signage is impossible to see.

    Has Translink thought of hanging signs in the middle of the platform so that riders on trains can actually see what station they are at if the small station signs opposite them are obstructed by trains?

  • By Eugene Wong, May 16, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    I like the suggestion for the QR codes. I was going to suggest it earlier, but I second guessed myself, and thought, “Who would use it?”. :^D

    Anyhow, I agree about the platform signage. I often look out the windows of the train, and can’t see anything, because it is too high, and the windows do not allow for clear site lines. The walls aren’t too helpful either. It’s not an urgent task, but a long term goal should be to place signs that are visible from all places and angles on the platform.

    Frankly, I would just lower the signs already there. If they were at window height, and in between the ads, then almost everybody would be able to find a sign.

  • By Kevin, May 16, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    While I agree that the signs on the station walls across from platforms can be lowered in some cases to make them visible, they’re only then visible *through* a train, if it’s empty.

    Instead, perhaps large signs could be placed on the podiums where the DWAs are, above the benches. This would be in the middle of the platform in a space clearly visible from the train, and would allow confused people to identify a SkyTrain station from more than just the neighbourhood : )

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 16, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    Hi all: I’ve forwarded your questions/suggestions on, so we’ll expect answers fairly soon.

    I just wanted to add one thing: I was talking to the wayfinding team, and including a list of routes on every bus stop sign is something we are actually open to. Of course, it remains to be seen whether that will go ahead and how it might roll out, but as you have all pointed out, it makes sense and makes the system much easier to understand. Huzzah!

  • By mike0123, May 16, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    The new map is a huge improvement over the existing map. A couple comments:

    The one-hour standard is very low for mid-day service on regular bus routes. A way to tighten up that standard to indicate moderately useful bus routes could be to add an additional test for thirty-minute service from 8 AM to 8 PM or similar hours. This would probably drop some routes that don’t really deserve to be called regular to limited, give a better indication of the useful bus routes, and increase expectations of those routes most of the time from one hour to thirty minutes.

    The West Coast Express is a limited service. Its line indicates that it is similar in its service pattern to a Skytrain line or a B-Line, which it is clearly not. The line should be dashed like other limited services to indicate that it is a service that cannot be used spontaneously.

  • By Jacky, May 16, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

    Cool new signs! They really stood out on the drive up to Grouse Mtn last week. Great to hear they’ll be going up over the region.

    Kevin – I agree that some of the wayfinding on the Expo Line needs improvement. I’d like to see the word ‘Elevator’ added to the picture of an elevator on the east exit wayfinding sign at the Waterfront SkyTrain Station. There are word descriptions for the other pictures on this sign except the elevator. I have observed people with luggage standing on the east exit platform looking blankly for an elevator.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 17, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    @Kevin

    Maybe the signs need to be on both sides of each track, and maybe the name needs to repeat often.

    Police tape is used to section off a crime scene, right? The words repeat often, so that nobody has an excuse. In the same way, maybe the station name needs to be all over the place.

    Perhaps they need to be placed just at the edge of the ceiling, where the ceiling meets the tracks, so that riders can look up and see the station name easily. Every 10 – 20 feet, then name could repeat. That takes care of the riders on the platform.

    On the train, the riders could see the lowered signage that I suggested.

    Maybe other text could be mingled in. Here is an example.

    Metrotown Station 18 minutes to Waterfront Station Metrotown Station 18 minutes to Waterfront Station Metrotown Station 18 minutes to Waterfront Station etc.

    I envision that information being written in black font, on a yellow background. 1 long line of information would be lowered, where I wanted it, and another long line would up somewhere visible, where you wanted. There would be 2 more for the other direction.

    It’s just a thought.

    Something to bear in mind, though, is that when a train is jam packed, there are probably enough trains to keep the frequency up. So, if a person on the platform can’t see the lowered signage due to crowding, then maybe he just needs to wait for the train to leave, before making any decisions. If there are hardly any trains, then he should be able to see where he is at. *shrug*

  • By dan, May 17, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    “And if routes are changing frequently, or there’s a lot of reroutes, then you’d have to do a huge amount of sign changes fairly frequently. Which is also probably not efficient or cost effective.”

    Probably? So who has the numbers to back up this claim?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 17, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    Dan: Ah, that was just me extrapolating a bit, using logic and such. More changes = more labour so it could certainly have some impact, and lots of changes would definitely be more than the changes we do currently, as there are no route lists on many of the plates.

    Nonetheless: as I have learned, our wayfinding team is thinking of adding route lists to all the bus stops, so that certainly might adjust our processes for the future.

  • By dan, May 17, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    Right. How much of an impact? It might be negligible and therefore worth doing. If I assumed I can’t do something from the start I’d never get anything done. :)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 17, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    dan: As far as I know, the wayfinding team has not yet scoped out the additional work in great detail, so I don’t have an answer for you. The focus is really on what we can roll out through regular maintenance and changes so far. But the hope is to eventually possibly get the route lists on all of them. You’re absolutely right: we can’t (and won’t) assume we can’t do something from the start!

  • By Chris, Public Transport, May 18, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    Adding bus routes and destinations on all the stops would be great. This is a basic thing that transit operators much larger than Translink – LA Metro, CTA in Chicago, and NY MTA do as well as Translink’s peer group like Seattle Metro. Most routes do not change very often.

  • By dan, May 18, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    The nerd in me wants access to bus metrics so as to run a Travelling Salesman Problem solver to optimize all the routes for metrics like wait time, delivery time, etc. How about putting QR codes at each stop? The route info is already online. I wonder if website route updates are automatically tied to the backend system used by the planning group…

  • By Taylor, May 18, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

    Another small mistake on the map is the 501 isn’t a limited service bus route.

    I have to agree with everyone else about listing the bus route #s on all signs. It just makes sense.

  • By Alex, May 18, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    Some inaccuracies to point out:

    - The 99 B-Line stop at Sasamat doesn’t line up with Sasamat Street on the map.

    - The arrow is pointing the wrong way on the #258 PM peak route that goes eastbound on 6th Avenue, then southbound Hemlock and then westbound on 5th Avenue to access Granville Bridge.

  • By User, May 18, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

    A comment on the signs lacking the route numbers for the buses:

    The great thing about not having it on the main part of the sign is, they can just add it later. If it becomes a problem and people do need these on the poles, then they can just add a separate small sign underneath. This will allow them to change out just the small additional part if it gets damaged, or if routes change etc. For now I don’t believe it would be needed, I do think it would have been nice to have the direction of the bus added such as North/East/South/West to the main sign. It would help people better orient themselves and it’s something that does not change. That would also match up with the customer information as I found they typically tell you the direction the bus is traveling along the street in that format. I could see it being redundant in certain areas, like downtown core, but it would be nice. Example of where it could go, is before or after the big T in half size font so it’s also visible from a bit of a distance.

  • By SS, May 19, 2012 @ 1:04 am

    The problem with 501/590 is that the 590 runs in peak hour and 501 runs off-peak – both runs only \part of the day\. The same apply to the 160/190 on Barnet between Coquitlam and Port Moody. I agree that the dashed line on both routes are very misleading though.

    Another mistake I’ve found on the map – the #9 is not a FTN route east of Commercial-Broadway Station. It runs every 20 minutes in evenings and weekends.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 22, 2012 @ 9:02 am

    User: Great minds think alike! The route numbers plate on future signage will actually be a separate small plate. The photo of the bus bay signage shows this already: if you look carefully, you can see the route list is actually its own plate, with its own connection to the pole separate from the T plate.

  • By Deano, May 22, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

    Jhen,

    TriMet in Portland and C-Tran in Vancouver WA have bus stop signs with about 9 squares defined. When a sign is produced for the first installation, the routes serving that stop are printed right onto the sign. If/when things change, the replacement information is produced on the equivalent of a “peel-and-stick” label. That would eliminate the need for a seperate small plate attached to the pole, and probably reduce costs as well.

  • By srw, May 26, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

    I find the signage for the TransLink network terribly inconsistent. For example, there are very useful signs at *some* SkyTrain platforms that indicate which stations are beyond you if you get on a train going that direction (Good example is New Westminster station).

    Are there any plans to have more of those kinds of signs? I am always answering questions from visitors and people new to the system because they can’t quite figure it all out. At least with Buses you have to look in to where it will take you, and a driver can always offer assistance… but the SkyTrain is kind of a “get on and go” mode and presents itself as more foolproof.

    On the same topic, I am always explaining to people how the Millennium line works (that it loops back around to Commercial-Broadway) and that you can get on either Expo Or M trains to get to any of the stops up to Columbia. Just a few words would help so many people find their way!

  • By Marvin B, May 28, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    I still insist that these are a waste of money in the current economic situation. I’m glad to hear that they cost the same as the old signs, so replacing AS NEEDED isn’t a big concern. My beef is that currently, every single sign in the system is not damaged, defaced or otherwise needing replacement. It’s just newer and and shinier. It’s the equivalent of all those people lining up outside electronic stores when the newest phone comes out. The old phone works just fine, but it’s not the newest. Not necessary, but a “nice to have” type of thing. When it’s public dollars it’s not prudent to venture out and get something that’s “nice to have”. I’d rather have that B-Line type bus going down King George Blvd or the rapid bus along Highway 1 over the Port Mann than new signs. Put it off until dollars are a little less stretched

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 28, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

    @Marvin

    Even though I disagree with you still, I gave you a thumbs up, because I agree with the idea of not upgrading, just because it’s shiny and new.

    That being said, I think that the overall organization has really put some thought into this, and has not overdone it.

    I think that a testimony to this is SkyTrain. A while ago, I realized that some Mark I cars are still sporting the old colours, and probably still have some old names on there. This is an example of them getting the biggest bang for their buck.

    Regarding those new signs, they are way more visible. I don’t think that we’ll ever be able to get enough use out of the old signs to be able to justify changing them. They are a lot like my mom’s old film camera. She wanted to continue using film, because the camera was still good, and she did not want to waste the camera. That’s admirable. Unfortunately, the more that she would try to use it before switching to digital, the more it would cost her to buy film. She would have to upgrade eventually, and those things typically don’t break or wear out as far as I know, so there would never really be a good time to upgrade. Things that are consumable, like pants, socks, cleansers, and food, are worth using up before new purchases.

    Regarding the signs, perhaps they were built to last, and using them for a long time would result in lost customers, because people can’t see the signs.

    These new signs are visible, and thus act as a form of meaningful advertisement.

    Contrast that with Via Rail. Their train stops in Mission and Hope are so difficult to find, even though there might be signage there. The signage might last another 10 years. A lot of people think that the train does not stop in such locations. I die a little inside every time I think about that.

    Also, changing signs is probably similar to changing light bulbs, in that we really do want to change them before it becomes obvious that a change is needed. Otherwise the system could feel run down.

    Psychology is often a greater influence on profits than an increase in service.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    Answers have come in!

    SS, here’s the response from wayfinding to your comment.

    Future signage will include route numbers at all stops.

    Yes, different versions of the new regional transit map will be tailored for specific uses, such as web maps and printed guides, and will eventually replace all older versions of the map system-wide.

    Regarding your other comments:

    The C47 has been revised and will be shown as limited service on future map revisions. The late night C25 will also be added as a limited service route.

    Future revisions of the mapping suite will include a reference to the connection to BC Transit’s ValleyMAX route 21 similar to the reference on the older maps.

    Also, the correction has been made for the C26 route and will be added to future revisions of the map. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    Robert W White, here’s the response to your comment:

    We’ve made the correction to the 264th/164th error, which will appear on future revisions of the map. Thanks for your support!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    Here’s the wayfinding team’s response to Alton’s comment at 5:53:

    Signs are replaced in two different ways:
    • As part of a regular cycle of maintenance every five years, or
    • As a result of quarterly changes to routes and schedules, if applicable

    Old signs are stripped of artwork/decals and their base materials are reused for new signs.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    Allen, Mani, and Eugene all suggested QR codes on signage, and Reva suggested T signage on buses. The wayfinding team says:

    Thanks! We will look into the possibility of QR codes on future signs, as well as T signage on buses and Bus Stop text on signage.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 11:40 am

    And here’s the response to Kevin’s comment:

    Thank you for your comments. As part of the installation of fare gates at Expo Line stations, we will be improving wayfinding signage in the ticket halls and fare vending areas of the stations. We are paying particular attention to directional signage.

    Further, wayfinding enhancements are planned throughout all stations as part of our comprehensive wayfinding strategy. These will be implemented as funding allows. Enhancements will include, among other things, more visible station ID signage on platforms.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    Marvin B: Eugene’s comment really hits the point we were trying to make with the new wayfinding signage. Building on that, the wayfinding team also offers the following info:

    Currently, over 2/3 of the over 8,000 bus stops in Metro Vancouver use a basic bus stop blade, which provides only the words “Bus Stop”, and no route information. With a white background and a thin profile, these signs are often difficult to see for both customers and bus drivers, and provide limited information to customers. The new signs will increase the visibility of the bus stop with the new, larger “T” Plate. The T plate is Phase 1 of a two phase roll-out. Phase 2 will include bus route and other information below the T Plate. Ultimately, our intent is to provide all bus stops in the region with the information customers need to their make their journeys efficient, convenient and easy.

  • By Kevin, May 29, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    Hi Jhennifer –

    I do appreciate much the response re. signage on skytrain, but the concern I had was actually re signage on the platform, not the vending level.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    Kevin: aha! I’ll pass that along for clarity.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    Kevin: here’s the response.

    Sorry, I should have been clearer on this. All areas, including the platform level, will get new signage based on our comprehensive wayfinding strategy. New signage will include, among other things, line diagrams and station ID on platforms that can more be more easily seen from trains.

    The distinction is that only the ticket hall/vending areas will be addressed during fare gate installation. All other areas will be addressed as funding allows.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, May 29, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

    SS: here’s a response to your comment about the 501/590 and the 160/190.

    As of now, these routes meet our definition of limited service. We will continue to represent them as dashed lines on the new maps based on our criteria. However, if the service patterns of these routes are adjusted in the future for any reason, we will revisit the way the routes are represented on the maps.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 30, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    @Marvin

    I just want to add a bit more.

    Signage is so important, because it affects usability.

    Just the other day, I went to SFU, to participate in a research project. The person wanted to study usability. For the first part of the study, I was supposed to interact with a media system that gave no clues other than sound changes and image changes. The sound changes were meaningless to me, and any changes on the screen seemed random. This was because I did not get any clues or meaningful feedback. When I tried to explain that to her, or when I answered her questions, I honestly detected a little arrogance in her tone of voice: “O-o-okay-ay…”.

    I found this offensive, because I have years of programming experience, I can design web sites, and even have a bit of experience creating simple graphics. I also have knowledge of usability. I appreciate how she wanted to study the frontiers of usability, but she really needed a more mature understanding of the obstacles; assuming that I actually understand her, of course.

    It’s the same with the transit system. No matter how easy it is to use, somebody won’t understand, or can’t see the signage.

    Also, these types of signs will make upgrading easier. When new routes go down the road, they only need to add a banner/flag or something like that, instead of removing the older kind, and then adding the new banner/flag.

  • By Reva, June 10, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    I thought you might like to know that in the past week two different people stopped me by one of the new bus stop signs TO ASK IF IT WAS A BUS STOP. They said it kind of looked like a bus stop, but it was not clear from the sign! The big T is fine and good but could Translink please put greater emphasis on that teensy bus symbol, and/or write the words “bus stop” on these signs! The most readable sign in the world is meaningless if it doesn’t tell you what it is. The signs are huge, you have the room! Thanks. :)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, June 11, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    Thanks for the heads up Reva! Passing that along to our wayfinding folks.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, June 12, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Reva: Hey hey, just got this response back from the planning folks.

    Thanks for helping your fellow riders! There might be some confusion at first, but we intend for the ‘T’ markers to be a consistent and instantly recognizable symbol representing transit service around the region. You’ll notice the ‘T’ showing up in more places throughout the system, including SkyTrain station entrances and maps as well as bus stops. As the ‘T’
    signage becomes more common throughout the Vancouver area, it will be more readily recognized by our riders, but while it is still relatively new, the bus icon on the signs shows the purpose of the sign to those who are not familiar with them. We believe the ‘T’ will help riders clearly identify transit stops and stations and gather the information that is most important to them for their journeys.

  • By Harrison, June 20, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

    About the old signs, when the Canada Line was built, the peak hour routes were dropped, but on some of the stops there’s a lot of excess space. Did they just scratch the lettering off the sign?

  • By Nick, June 25, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

    The people who are defending the old signs have likely never tried to go to a bus stop in a relatively strange area at night/in the rain, worse yet while running for it.

    When you’re stressing trying to get the last bus, tired because it’s late, and getting double vision because you’re running hard and don’t know if you have five or fifteen minutes, every single “No Parking” signpost looks like a bus stop at first. And even sometimes when you’re not — once while on my way home from work on the N19, I stopped for a bite at the 7-11 at 6th and 4th. When I walked up to the bus stop, I initially found myself standing at the “No Stopping” sign marking the stop’s far end because the tiny bus stop sign was obscured and as a result virtually invisible.

    One suggestion that has been bouncing around my head for a while, though, is installing a light (preferably red, since the long wavelength allows it to travel further) at bus stops, so waiting passengers could just press a button to indicate that they are there. Avoiding pranks and turning it off are as simple as putting the light on a five- or ten-minute timer. This doesn’t have to be done at all stops, either, just low-visibility stops like those along Marine Drive in Burnaby or 200th Street in Langley (southbound 200th at 80th is especially bad, because unless you stand in the bus bay itself it’s very hard to see the bus coming).

    (Yes, this was partially inspired by the story of Bono supposedly throwing himself in front of a bus while stranded in West Van because in Ireland most buses run on flag stop service. But I also use the aforementioned 200th/80th stop a lot.)

  • By ;-), June 26, 2012 @ 12:12 am

    I just wave my Blackberry Torch when I see a bus coming. Drivers are very appreciative with the bright screen.

    Carmanah tried a few LED stops about 8 years ago. No word what happened when the study was over.
    http://www.carmanah.com/company/news-and-updates/news-release/vancouver-installs-carmanahs-solar-powered-illuminated-bus

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, June 26, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    I think that I also have stood in front of no parking signs.

    I like the phone idea. I might try it, too.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 24, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

    Harrison: the wayfinding team would like more detail about the signage you’re talking about so they can respond properly. What signs specifically are you talking about? Got any photos you could link to?

  • By Harrison, July 24, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

    On Garden City Road and Bennett Road (stop 56867) the sign is really big, and it only says 401 Garden City. The rest of the sign which is about 2/3 is blank. You can read 488 Garden City faintly

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 7, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    Hi Harrison: I’ve sent your info around and here’s the answer from our planning group over at CMBC.

    No, we did not just scratch off the old lettering, and in fact this stop has had two signs since the change of Canada Line, the first with the discontinuation of the 488 (Sept 2009) and the second one when the pole and sign were damaged due to a motor vehicle accident in late January 2010. We have photographs of the old sign, and it was quite aged, and we would not be able to remove the lettering. If you can read 488 and it is not apparent to me in the photographs, it could be that someone made the wrong replacement sign and they removed the 488 prior to installation.

    As for space this is our smallest standard size size, so if there is only one route, then there is space left – I have included a picture of a sign from new west to show you what they look like. We have a minimum standard sign, to ensure we can put at least two routes on it and it fits a standard pole flange for mounting.

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