Research and Engagement
Through our public outreach and audits of the Rail Transit Network’s existing wayfinding tools we determined that the customer complaints related to navigation challenges are rooted in the lack of consistent brand presence and information hierarchy.
To create a more intuitive transit experience, we needed to start with the brand and then extend our focus to the development of a clear and concise visual vocabulary and information hierarchy. The establishment of a clear brand hierarchy is one of the most crucial factors in developing a cohesive multi-modal system that spans across large geographical areas. By clearly defining transit services and route hierarchies, a user can better perceive the entire network as one cohesive, holistic system.
Looking Forward Trends of Future SEPTA Ridership
What’s the future of rail transit in Greater Philadelphia?
- More Dynamic Travel Patterns
- An Increasingly Diverse Rider Base and Regional Population
- Less Reliance on 9-to-5 Commuters
- More Decisions: “Do I drive, take an Uber, ride a bike, or catch the bus?”
HOW TO RESPOND:
Encourage “network” thinking through the changing perceptions and improved communications.
27 Questions, 30+ Days, 1500+ Responses
View the results of our public survey, developed to gather key information about how the public uses and understands the existing SEPTA system. We are using the 1,500 responses we received to help design better solutions.
Experimental Wayfinding Study
SEPTA partnered with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Safe Mobility to study how people navigate our transit network with eye tracking glasses. The study was conducted at the most confusing transit stations with a diverse range of participants.
This technology allowed us to collect data from actual travel experiences by shadowing real users.
Interviews and workshops were held to understand the goals, perceptions, and aspirations of SEPTA stakeholders, including riders across all segments. It was important to better understand what riders’ expectations are in terms of mobility choices, as well as their familiarity with and knowledge of the system.
This understanding enables SEPTA to foster an inclusive and welcoming tone that speaks to the diverse needs of the community. Some groups represented in our engagement include:
- SEPTA Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)
- SEPTA Youth Advisory Council (YAC)
- Advisory Committee for Accessible Transportation (SAC)
- Transit Forward Philadelphia
- 5th Square
- Transit Riders Union
- Nationalities Services Center
- Philadelphia City Planning Commission
- Clean Air Council
- Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Visit Philly
- Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability
- Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
- North Broad Renaissance
- Design Advocacy Group
- Impact Services
- Center City District
- And more
Everyone loves a good map, and with our #TransitMapTuesday social media campaign we redesigned our transit map using the iconic design languages of peer agencies to show how powerful graphics can be portraying our network.
During our brand analysis we reviewed existing SEPTA brand standards and application throughout the system.
Existing Brand Hierarchy
- Perception of all services as separate or distinct
- Differing perceptions of same services due to inconsistent messaging
- Disorganized network structure – “systems” are given the same prominence as “lines”
- Unify the Rail Transit Network under a single identity to better communicate interconnectivity
- Introduce Line Badges that utilize color and letter designations to increase accessibility
- Wordiness / reliance on full English sentences
- Use of “technical” terminology
- Inconsistent use of station names, line names, etc.
- Inconsistency in design, signage placement, etc.
- Poor information hierarchy (all information given at once)
- Lack of information / signage
- Outdated information / brand presence