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Category: Wayfinding

Wayfinding 101: the SkyTrain, B-Line and SeaBus Network map (in depth)

This is part of our ongoing Wayfinding 101 series taking a closer look at wayfinding at TransLink, bringing you the ins and outs, and answers to your questions.

This week, we’re going to do something a little different and bring you a guest post from Jada Stevens, wayfinding specialist and graphic artist at TransLink.

She designs TransLink’s myriad of maps, including the SkyTrain, B-Line and SeaBus Network map that’s found at SkyTrain’s platform level. This map is used as a high-level snapshot of our fastest, most frequent and highest-capacity modes of transit. The routes on this map create the foundation of TransLink’s  entire network, and these routes have become synonymous to the growth and liveability of our region.

It’s up against Chile’s Santiago Metro in the World Cup of Transit Maps today, so we’d thought we’d reach out to Jada to write a guest post about all the quirks and details about this map! Read more »

Wayfinding 101: progressive disclosure

This is part of our ongoing Wayfinding 101 series taking a closer look at wayfinding at TransLink, bringing you the ins and outs, and answers to your questions.

Wayfinding signage at Main Street–Science World Station helps customers find the platform they need to be at to catch their train.

In our introductory post for the series, we talked about how wayfinding tools distill complex environments into easily navigable chunks for our customers by providing pertinent information only when needed. This is called progressive disclosure!

For example, if you are on the SkyTrain and planning to transfer to a B-Line bus, our in-car diagrams will show you the transfer stations to the B-Line, using the orange B-Line branding.

To confirm that you are travelling towards the B-Line stop, we use the same orange B-Line branding at all decision points as you exit a station. And you will recognize the B-Line stop as you will see the same branding on the bus stop sign. Read more »

TransLink Wayfinding 101: all about maps

Yours truly reviewing the “Buses from Here” map at Main Street–Science World Station!

This is part of our ongoing Wayfinding 101 series taking a closer look at wayfinding at TransLink, bringing you the ins and outs, and answers to your questions.

Who needs printed maps when you have Google Maps? We all do! And it’s not just in case the internet goes down. Printed maps help customers create “mental maps” of where transit services are located.

While Google Maps is effective to help you get from point A to point B, it doesn’t tell you much about the broader transit network.

“Maps instill network awareness in our customers,” says Jada Stevens, wayfinding specialist and graphic artist at TransLink. “No matter where they are, we want customers to have a general idea of what services run, how often they run and to what destinations. Our maps work in tandem with tools like Google Maps to get you where you need to go.” Read more »

TransLink Wayfinding 101: story of the “T”

The T symbol at Broadway–City Hall Station. Photo: Joe K/Flickr

This is part of our ongoing Wayfinding 101 series taking a closer look at wayfinding at TransLink, bringing you the ins and outs, and answers to your questions.

Think of the London Underground and you think of the blue, red and white roundel. Think of the Paris Métro and you think of the red lamppost sign with “Métro” in all-caps.

Read more »

TransLink Wayfinding 101: who is the wayfinding team?

Phil Kehres and Jada Stevens, wayfinding specialists at TransLink

This is part of our ongoing Wayfinding 101 series taking a closer look at wayfinding at TransLink, bringing you the ins and outs, and answers to your questions. 

Wayfinding is unique at TransLink compared to a typical transit agency. We bring together transit planners and graphic artists to design our suite of wayfinding tools—not simply one or the other.

“We’re not just making sure everything looks pretty or that the information is right,” says Phil Kehres, senior wayfinding specialist at TransLink. “We ensure both streams work together in harmony.” Read more »

TransLink Wayfinding 101: what is wayfinding?

This is the first post of our Wayfinding 101 series taking a closer look at wayfinding at TransLink, bringing you the ins and outs, and answers to your questions.

If you’ve taken transit, you’ve taken part in wayfinding on our system. So what exactly is it?

For the customer, wayfinding is much more than applying directional signage, and for us at TransLink, it’s much more than simply providing directional signage.

Read more »

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign… New bus stop signs, that is!

Say hello to your new bus stop signs!

Say hello to your new bus stop signs!

Late last year we mentioned how some bus stop signs around Surrey Central were getting a new look.

Now, you may have noticed that these new signs are popping up at bus stops across the region!

That’s because they will become the new bus stop standard for TransLink.


Transit Information Panel

As current signs come to the end of their lives, we will be switching all of our bus stop signage across the region to mirror the new look.

The new signs include the “T” for transit, route numbers, Next Bus information and the bay number are placed in prominent locations.

To differentiate from regular bus service, B-Line information will be highlighted in orange and NightBus in navy blue. Plus, they are reflective and easily seen at night!

The best part is really the fact each new sign will list EVERY route at that stop. No more wondering if you’re waiting in the right place, just check the sign!

Another change you may start to see is the end of infotubes at bus stops where they exist and the installation of Transit Information Panels (TIPs).

The new TIPs bump up the font of the scheduled times, include the stop number as well as the recognizable “T” for transit.

The hardware used is much more durable than the old infotubes, which makes them longer lasting and more cost effective.

Thirty-six stops in downtown Vancouver have been updated with these awesome TIPs!

Next up is Surrey City Centre starting mid-May. The rest of the infotube stops will be updated throughout this year.

Author: Adrienne Coling

New signs make taking the bus a breeze

A wayfinding expert’s rendering of a new bus stop sign and scheduling panel

A wayfinding expert’s rendering of a new bus stop sign and scheduling panel

Starting this month and continuing through the week, bus stop signs in Surrey City Centre are getting a new look!

The design of the new signs, courtesy of TransLink’s Wayfinding experts, display more information and are easier to read.

You’ll also notice something strangely familiar — the new look is consistent with other transit facilities across the system such as SkyTrain stations. The large “T” is for transit (of course!) and will make spotting a bus stop a breeze.

Digital rendering of a new bus stop sign

Digital rendering of a new bus stop sign

Rolling out the new bus stop signs will be a gradual process. To be cost effective, signage and schedules “infotubes” will only be changed out when the existing pieces reach end-of-life or are damaged or require updated route information. The full replacement of all bus stop signs and infotubes will take place over the next few years.

New bus stop signs

New bus stop signs will make it easier for customers to locate bus stops from a distance.

The “T” for transit, route numbers, Next Bus information and the bay number are placed in prominent locations. To differentiate from regular bus service, B-Line information will be highlighted in orange and NightBus in navy blue.

Schedule panels replace infotubes

Many bus stops currently have infotubes on the pole with schedule information, and riders generally give us good feedback about them. Sometimes, however, riders tell us the text is too small. We’re making improvements in this area by replacing the infotubes with schedule panels. The schedule panels are flat, contain larger text and have the same look and feel as the bus stop signs.

Existing infotube (left) and new scheduling panel (right)

Existing infotube (left) and new scheduling panel (right)












Keep your eyes open!

If you’re in Surrey City Centre over the next few days, make sure to check out the new signs. There are also a few new ones dotting other areas of the region, so keep your eyes open for them too!



Author: Jordan Keim 

BC Parkway – Find your way with new wayfinding signs!

The new look to wayfinding signs along the BC Parkway

The new look to wayfinding signs along the BC Parkway

See what I did there? So clever!

Old BC parkway wayfinding sign

One of the old BC Parkway signs

If you are curious as to what wayfinding actually is, well, so was I before I started at TransLink!

The basic process of wayfinding involves four steps: orientation, route decision, route monitoring and destination recognition.

It’s essentially a decision making process related to navigation. The decisions we make are influenced by what we sense, our experience and the information we can obtain. Like signage and maps.

If you’ve been a part of the region for more than a few years, you may have noticed some of these sign changes around the transit system.

TransLink is continually implementing wayfinding enhancements as part of existing capital projects, routine maintenance or as specific opportunities arise.

Speaking of opportunities, the BC Parkway is one!

The BC Parkway is a 26-kilometre, multi-use path that connects Surrey City Centre, New Westminster, South Burnaby and Vancouver.

178  new signs are currently being installed along this path. These signs are designed to help everyone better understand the route.

History lesson time!

The BC Parkway was introduced just ahead of the Expo ’86 celebrations.

A new sign out on the BC Parkway

A new sign out on the BC Parkway

The creation and maintenance was (and still is) a partnership between BC Transit (now TransLink) and the municipalities along the route.

TransLink is upgrading BC Parkway as we speak!

This includes some renovation and maintenance work like lighting, crossing safety improvements and accessibility improvements in different areas along the route.

Here are a few of the changes:

  • Realignment of the BC Parkway, away from darker areas and bushes and closer to the road at Nanaimo Station, and along Slocan and Rupert streets.
  • New lighting on parts of the parkway in Vancouver, New Westminster and Surrey for increased visibility for BC Parkway users.
  • A new designated route at Nanaimo and Patterson stations to separate cyclists from vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Widened and paved paths with new ramps replacing steps at Slocan and Rupert streets. This improves accessibility for parents with strollers, people in wheelchairs/scooters and cyclists.

Just because I love old flyers and the like, check out an excerpt from the brochure that was distributed in the region at the time with a shot of the very first signs on the path.

BC Parkway brochure










Be sure to take a look at our guidelines for bicycle wayfinding to stay up to date on our regional cycling strategy and keep your eyes peeled for the new signs as you’re cruising on your bike!

Author: Adrienne Coling

What’s that green sign with the running person at Main Street-Science World SkyTrain station?

What's that green running thing?!

What’s that green sign with the running person?!

If you’ve been to Main Street-Science World since the east stationhouse upgrades were completed, you might have noticed some new signage.

A closer look at the new sign, courtesy of ISO!

A closer look at the new sign, courtesy of ISO!

There are green signs here and there throughout the station showing a person running out a doorway.

What are they?

Well, they are the new emergency exit signs!

Jeff Deby, Senior Wayfinding Specialist at TransLink, tells us these signs were adopted in the B.C. Building Code in 2012 and the National Building Code of Canada in 2010.

These will replace the text-based, red ‘EXIT’ signs as the standard emergency exit sign in all new building facilities in Canada.

“The new signs follow the ISO international standard and are commonly seen in Europe and Asia,” Jeff says. “It will be more familiar to international travellers, and the graphic method of communication is easier to understand for people who don’t read English.

Here's the old exit sign found at Sapperton and most SkyTrain stations

Here’s the old exit sign found at Sapperton Station and other TransLink facilities

It is also clearly separate from the wayfinding system (which helps people navigate the transit network) because it is so distinctive, making it clearer in cases when an exit is for emergency use.”

Since this sign is the new standard in B.C., it will start to appear in more facilities across the transit network in the coming years.

This includes all six new Evergreen stations and other SkyTrain stations that have been identified for major upgrades.

Author: Allen Tung

Accessible transit pilot at Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange

Check out the new tactile strips that have been installed to improve accessibility at bus stops!

Last year, when I traveled the system with Richard Marion, a visually-impaired man and member of the Access Transit User Advisory Committee, and created a podcast of the experience, I discovered that it takes a lot of effort to get to your destination if you’re unable to see where you are going. In TransLink’s efforts in making the system more accessible, we are rolling out a universally accessible pilot project at Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange aimed at improving the wayfinding of the bus system for those who are visually impaired.

If you’ve visited Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange since June of this year, you’d have noticed something a little different:

UPDATE: All of the bus stops at Joyce Bus Loop now have tactile strips!

New tactile strip and new bus stop sign installed!

New tactile strip and bus stop sign!

The newly added bright, yellow, tactile strips to Bay three. The colour of the tactile strips helps people who have some sight, and the raised bars point towards the location of the bus stop pole, which helps both people with limited sight or none at all. People are able to feel the tactile strips with their feet or canes.

This portion of the pilot project was started last year in consultation with the a number of user groups including the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee, CNIB, formerly known as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, as well as CMBC (Coast Mountain Bus Company).

Now that the tactile strips have been in place for several months and the feedback on them has been generally positive, it’s been decided that Bays 1, 2, 4 and the Handy Dart bus stop at the Bus Exchange will also be retrofitted with these additions.

A prototype of new wayfinding signage at Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange

Along with the addition of the tactile strips, Bay 4 at Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange will include a new bench and wayfinding signage similar to the wayfinding signage that can been seen at some stops on the Canada Line. In addition, the bus stop pole will also have a tactile information panel which will be on one side of the information cube (which also includes a walking map, SkyTrain map, and transit schedule information). The tactile information panel will have raised text and braille with information about the Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange, bus schedules and contact information.

Once everything has been installed, TransLink will be in touch with the users groups and CMBC to gather feedback.

This project is a pilot only and contributes to the finalization of TransLink’s draft universally Accessible Bus Stop Design Guidelines. We’ll look at the results of the pilot and consider how to move forward considering many factors including funding.

So, what do you think? Are you visually-impaired and have used any of these new accessibility features at Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange? If so, please take this poll. Since much of the pilot doesn’t start until November, the poll will be open until the middle of December. Of course, anyone can leave a comment about their experience with this pilot and how it could be improved by leaving a comment.

Do these accessibility additions at Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange help you with your commute?

  • No (55%, 18 Votes)
  • Yes (45%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 33





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!

Read more »

New ways to find your way: An interview about TransLink’s new transportation wayfinding strategy

New ID sign at the Bridgeport Bus Exchange

New ID sign at the Bridgeport Bus Exchange

TransLink’s Joanne Proft, Project Manager in Infrastructure Planning, said something interesting when I spoke with her and Jeff Deby, a Project Planner in Infrastructure Planning, about some new wayfinding initiatives rolling out this week: “How many times have you been to an unfamiliar city and don’t want to use the bus system because the level of information is complicated?” I had to pause and think about it. When I was in Portland last year, I didn’t think twice about using the streetcar since it seemed easy and hard to make a mistake when planning my trip. I did take a few buses, but I found it more difficult in navigating compared to the streetcar and asked others waiting at bus stops about routes and times since there were no schedules or maps available for me to reference.

Whether you’re new to Metro Vancouver or have lived here for years, wanting to improve people’s experience using transit is the impetus behind a widespread change in bus stop wayfinding across the entire system that starts this week. This latest strategy to make transit easier and more efficient for users started just before the 2010 Winter Olympics. The transit “T” (telling people from a distance and close up that this is a transit facility) was installed at most SkyTrain and Canada Line stations downtown as well as the Marine Drive, Bridgeport and Richmond‐ Brighouse bus exchanges. The bus stops at these later Canada Line stations were also outfitted with a prototype of a information panel replacing the information tubes we’ve had for years.

New this week

This week the first initiative of the strategy starts with new ID signs to accompany the prototype of new information panels at the Marine Drive, Bridgeport and Richmond‐ Brighouse bus exchanges. Basically, the new ID signs build upon what we already have by adding the “T”, listing the different service types available and providing the name of the stop and bay number if applicable.

Prototype of Our New Information Panels

Prototype of our new information panels

The idea of adding the ‘T’ (which will identify all transit facilities in the future) is to make stops more visible and unify the identity of transit across the system. Having different modes of transit like regular, limited, NightBus or B‐Line, informs users of the service provided. Providing the name of the stop (e.g. Marine Drive Station or Laurentian Crescent—Sheridan Ave) along with the stop and bay number when applicable helps to identify the stop itself.

The information panels will convey much more information than the info tubes currently do. Depending on the stop, TransLink is working on panels of one to three sides. So far, panels can contain all or some of these elements:  A list of key stops, zones, local area walking maps as well as schedule times in larger type than currently found.

These first bus IDs and info panels are just the beginning of bus stop wayfinding improvements that will be rolling out over time. The intention is that once old IDs and tubes are due to be replaced, these new IDs and panels will take their place.

Now, I know some readers (if you’ve indeed read this far) may find this level of detail fantastic, while other may find it overloading. If you’re asking yourself what this is all about, why we need it and what wayfinding is exactly, then you’re not alone. I put those and other questions to Joanne and Jeff. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation. Read more »