Sound Transit wants to make it easier to exit the downtown Seattle train stations.
Whether you’re a newcomer or native – we’ve all been there. You sometimes pick an exit and wait until you get to the surface to figure out where you are.
After looking at Vancouver, Boston, Hong Kong and other cities for best practices, our signage team decided to test out a numbered exit system.
This week, new overhead signs, maps and directories are being installed in Westlake, University Street, Pioneer Square and International District/Chinatown Stations.
Right now, light rail riders navigate out of the tunnel by checking overhead signs that list cross streets in downtown Seattle. Regular riders may know, for example, to head toward 2nd and University if they want to go to the Seattle Art Museum, or 5th and Pine to shop around Westlake Center.
But for visitors, first-time users, people who have trouble reading and even daily riders, it can be a maze.
Through the end of 2020, exits in the downtown tunnel stations will be numbered and paired with directories, which will have photos of local landmarks – from Pike Place Market to sports stadiums.
In August, our team did some usability testing to figure out what was working, and what was still confusing, before this larger pilot.
If the experiment is successful, we will look at how to use it in more stations as our system grows.
In the meantime, we’ll continue observations and on-site tests.
We wanted to launch this pilot now to get people accustomed before more big changes come in January for the Connect 2020 project.
In the spirit of simplification and improving customer experience, we’re updating all of our signage standards next year, in addition to other recent wayfinding improvements.