A New Wayfinding System Brings Maps To New York’s Pedestrians

Visiting a gargantuan city like New York for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Even with the help of Google Maps, subway signposts, and a grid-like street structure, you’re still likely to get lost. Considering that 31% of all trips in New York City are made on foot, it makes sense that the city launched WalkNYC, a series of pedestrian wayfinding stations, earlier this summer.

The 8.5-foot-tall signs feature most of the information that a turned-around tourist (or local) could want: maps, compass directions, transit connections, local destinations, and even nearby Wi-Fi hotspot locations. The signs will eventually be scattered across the city, but they can be found initially in Chinatown, Long Island City, Herald Square, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights.

As Streetsblog points out, WalkNYC is similar to Legible London, a wayfinding system in the British city that launched in 2007. In fact, the two initiatives share some design team members.

Legible London has succeeded in its goals of getting more people walking and reducing the number of pedestrians who get lost: the city found that the number of people getting lost in pilot program areas dropped by 65%, while the number of people walking in these areas increased by 5%.

WalkNYC plans to expand to all of NYC’s boroughs by 2014.AS