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36 3.1 Introduction Chapter 1 is an introduction on what wayfinding is: communicating information that helps customers find their way and why it is important. Chapter 2 helps define the target audience and the needs of aging travelers and persons with disabilities based on the factors and challenges that affect their customer experience. Chapter 3 builds on that information by identifying the three âVsâ of communication (visual, verbal, and virtual) and how they apply to the target audience. The following chapters outline how airports and airlines can utilize wayfinding strategies in each journey segment. Applying these vital strategies to each journey segment will help airports identify âinformation gapsâ that can result when information is presented in only one mode. The diverse sensory and cognitive abilities of aging travelers and persons with disabilities require the provision of essential information in a variety of modes (e.g., written, symbolic, tactile, and verbal) to ensure effective communication. This benefits foreign travelers and others as well. The backbone of the three Vs of communication is consistency. For an airport, this can be chal- lenging because the responsibilities for the various forms of communication often reside in differ- ent groups. For instance, volunteers providing verbal communication at information booths may report to customer service, while full-time employees who staff ground transportation informa- tion counters may be contracted employees. Even though these key touch points are staffed and managed by different groups, the customer sees no distinction and expects a consistent level of service (LOS). Keeping a master composite-type list of terminology and symbology to share both internally and externally will help ensure consistency in all forms of communication with the air- port customer. Disability awareness training that includes instruction in appropriate language and communication also helps create a consistent LOS. What are the benefits of wayfinding, and why is communication so important? A survey of 1,000 customers conducted under ACRP Project 03-35 (published as ACRP Research Report 161) revealed that ease of wayfinding inside an airport ranked No. 1 out of the top 10 features mea- sured among all passengers surveyed (see Figure 3-1). Alternatively, when the same respondents were asked to describe the best part of their airport experience, ease of wayfinding ranked last. The survey shows that while wayfinding is critical to the customer experience, in reality it has not received the attention it deserves and thus presents a major opportunity for improvement in many airports (Landrum & Brown, Inc. 2016). As part of a wayfinding study conducted by Gresham, Smith and Partners in 2013, 1,782 cus- tomers were surveyed at a large-hub airport. The study showed that 10 percent of customers will ask for verbal assistance. At an airport with an annual volume of 10 million passengers, 10 percent equates to 1 million passengers looking for someone to assist them with verbal communication. The ACRP Research Report 161 survey showed that âhelpfulness of staffâ ranked a very close C h a p t e r 3 Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 37 second to âease of wayfinding.â These examples reinforce how important verbal communication remains, even in todayâs technology-driven world. The other point worth noting from the ACRP Research Report 161 survey is that flight information screens were ranked third in importance to the customer experience (Landrum & Brown, Inc. 2016). The top three factors from the ACRP Research Report 161 surveyâease of wayfinding, helpfulness of staff, and flight information screensâdirectly reflect the importance of the three Vs of communication to airport customers. Figure 3-1 shows the results from eight U.S. gateway airports, with percentages that show the level of customer satisfaction for each factor surveyed. 3.2 Visual Visual wayfinding information, the most basic navigational tool, encompasses all static signage. It is the workhorse of the wayfinding world and does the heavy lifting. But what elements of visual information require particular consideration in relation to meeting the needs of aging travelers and people with disabilities? Until airports are designed to be 100-percent intuitive, signage will remain the primary visual form of communicating information to passengers. There are two key signage characteristics that need to be reviewed and evaluated in relation to meeting the wayfinding needs of aging trav- elers and people and with disabilities: design and application. Design characteristics encompass, among other things, the visual appearance and physical construction of signage. Application is how the visual wayfinding system functions. This section includes a brief overview of these two characteristics and why they are important. For more detailed, in-depth information, please reference ACRP Report 52 (Harding et al. 2011). 3.2.1 Design Factors that should be considered in the design of signage include conspicuity, color, con- trast, illumination, legibility, typography, symbology, arrows, and maps. Each of these factors is discussed below. Source: Landrum & Brown, Inc. 2016 Figure 3-1. Survey results of top 10 factors that affect the customer experience (in alphabetical order: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, John F. Kennedy, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco).
38 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 220.127.116.11 Conspicuity Color conspicuity is how well color stands out from its surroundings. Lighter colors tend to advance toward you, while darker colors tend to recede into the background. The eye also reads some colors more quickly than others; the eye reads yellow and orange the most quickly (see Figure 3-2). This information has functional value in the design of a sign system. An example of conspicuity in practice is the color-coded system used by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey at John F. Kennedy International Airport shown in Figure 3-3. 18.104.22.168 Color As a wayfinding tool, color can be effective. See Figure 3-4, where black on yellow is used for the most important information, i.e., time-sensitive elements such as check-in, ticketing, secu- rity, and gates. White on green is used for ground transportation, and yellow on black is used for amenities like restrooms. However, while color can be helpful in reinforcing wayfinding infor- mation, it should not be relied on to serve as the primary wayfinding strategy. A consideration for color-coded wayfinding is that as many as 8 percent of men and 0.5 percent of women with Northern European ancestry have the common form of red-green color blindness (National Institutes of Health [NIH]). 22.214.171.124 Contrast The appendix of the original ADA Standards required a minimum contrast of 70 percent between signage background and the message. While this requirement is no longer in the ADA Standards, using a color combination that achieves a high contrast (light on dark or dark on light) is a best practice. Airport conditions can vary from area to area, but in principle, signage needs to be both conspicuous and legible. Signage with excellent contrast can help a person with low vision and aging travelers (who make up a large percentage of vacationing travelers). Source: Architectural Signage and Graphics, Copyright 1979, by John Follis and Dave Hammer Publishing Company. Figure 3-2. The percentage of area by which a colored sign has to exceed the size of a white sign to be equally conspicuous. Source: Airport Sign Standard Manual, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Figure 3-3. Color-coded signing system at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 39 Research shows that certain color background and letter combinations (see Figure 3-5) provide higher contrast than others. It is important to be aware of these combinations when planning and designing a wayfinding system that will meet the needs of aging travelers and persons with disabilities. Figure 3-6 shows examples of airports with high-contrast color combinations. 126.96.36.199 Illumination Illumination is a counterpart to conspicuity, contrast, and legibility design elements. There are three basic options when considering how to light a signage system. The first option is non- illuminated and uses the ambient light of the airport building (see Figure 3-7). This approach keeps the overall sign system simple, cost-effective, and easy to maintain, but requires effective planning on behalf of the architectural and lighting design team. A good light level with a mini- mum of 100 lux is recommended where non-illuminated signs are located. A good rule of thumb Source: Airport Sign Standard Manual, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Figure 3-4. Color-coded sign at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Source: Karen E. Claus; R. James Claus; Visual communication through signage; Signs of the Times Publishing Company, Â©1974 Figure 3-5. Best color combinations for legibility.
40 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities is that if a person with normal vision canât read a newspaper next to the sign, then a person with low vision cannot read the sign. The second option is external illumination. While not commonly used, it does share the same benefits of a non-illuminated sign and is simple, economical, and easy to maintain. The advances in light-emitting diode (LED) lighting provide slim-line profiles that are both aes- thetically pleasing and energy efficient (see image on the left in Figure 3-8). The image on the right in Figure 3-8 is a good example of how special consideration is needed to ensure that signs can be read equally well against day-lit windows and interior architecture, which can create legibility issues for customers with vision problems. The third option is internal illumination. Compared to the previous two options, internal illu- mination typically generates a higher level of conspicuity and improves legibility for customers who have lost visual acuity due to age and/or other problems associated with loss of light (see Figures 3-9, 3-10 and 3-11). The trade-off is that this option typically costs more to install and maintain. One note of concern with regard to any of the options listed above is sign surface glare. Even if all the design elements are good, surface glare may cause people with normal sight to have problems Source: Moniteurs GmbH Communication Design Figure 3-6. Examples of high-contrast color combinations for airport signage. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-7. Non-illuminated sign at San Francisco International Airport.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 41 Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-8. Externally illuminated signs at Philadelphia International Airport. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-9. Internally illuminated signs with a translucent background at Heathrow Airport. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-10. Internally illuminated signs with an opaque background at Changi Airport.
42 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities reading the signs, and those with low vision will find it even more difficult to find and read the signs. Surface glare also applies to digital signage like FIDSs and can impact the legibility and visibility for short people and persons in wheelchairs; this needs to be considered during the planning process. Another issue to be considered with regard to illumination is that human vision deteriorates with age, with older adults often experiencing significant vision problems in low-light environ- ments. The images in Figure 3-11 show how much aging changes the relative transmission of light through the optic media for viewers of ages 20, 60 and 75. As people age, muscles that con- trol the pupil size and reaction to light lose strength. This causes the pupil to become smaller and less responsive to changes in ambient lighting. Because of these changes, people in their 60s and older can need three times more ambient light for comfortable reading than those in their 20s. Illumination can also apply to overall physical space. Older adults are more susceptible to being dazzled by bright sunlight and glare when emerging from dimly lit to brightly lit spaces. Safety- related concerns include pedestrian crossings that should have higher lighting levels. Navigation and circulation concerns include corridors and hallways that are evenly illuminated with gradual transitions from dark to bright spaces, especially those that have high levels of natural light. In summary, proper illumination of signage and wayfinding, as well as the overall space, is a vital part of a well-planned wayfinding system and airport environment. 188.8.131.52 Legibility The next key design element is legibility. The simple default is to think about how big the text height is on the sign messages. However, it is important to first evaluate the context. Sign placement, viewing distance, typography, and visual acuity all factor into determining the correct letter height. While architectural space constraints can place limitations on sign size, which in turn impacts the letter height, a best practice is using 20/40 vision as a basis of design with regard to aging travelers and people with disabilities as shown in Figure 3-12. (Note: A minimum of 20/40 vision is required to obtain a driverâs license.) 184.108.40.206 Typography As noted in the previous section, large, easy-to-read lettering is a basic design element, but research has shown that simply increasing font size alone is not enough to improve legibility of sign content by older persons and persons with impaired vision. Other typographical attributes are also important. Using proportional fonts in lieu of fixed-width fonts can improve legibility. A fontâs x-height, which affects the lowercase letters, has a strong impact on legibility. Another attribute that enhances legibility is the letter stroke width where the counters (the gaps and holes in letters) remain clearly distinguishable. Wider letter spacing enhances legibility but requires more sign space (Arditi et al. 1995). Source: Typography and the Aging Eye: Typeface Legibility for Older Viewers with Vision Problems by Paul Nini (01.23.06). Figure 3-11. Vision simulated for persons aged 20 (image on far left), 60 (image in the middle), and 75 (image on far right).
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 43 Fonts that are proven to have high legibility factors are also an important consideration. Gen- erally speaking, for large, primary, directional signs sans-serif fonts should be used for maximum legibility and fonts with serifs should be avoided. (See Figure 3-13.) Word spacing and letter spacing are other design factors that impact legibility. Spacing is a critical component of legibility. The following are the four parts to spacing: â¢ Letter spacing, otherwise known as kerning â¢ Word spacing within a message â¢ Line spacing between messages â¢ Relational spacing within a sign grid Sign real estate in airports is typically at a premium, so it can be tempting to condense font and/or spacing. Condensing either will have adverse effects on legibility. For roadway signs, there are kerning tables that are standardized by the FHWA. However, there is no such standard for pedestrian-based sign design. See Figure 3-14 as a letter-spacing guide for directional signage inside an airport terminal. The ADA Standards establish criteria for ratios of (1) body width to height and (2) stroke width to height in typefaces in order to ensure uniform, legible type in signage systems. While these standards provide a good baseline, there are additional factors to consider in regard to typeface selection for the aging eye. Figure 3-15 shows the sans-serif font, Frutiger Bold, as it would be seen by a viewer with no vision problem and as it would be seen by a viewer experiencing a loss of light and focus. Despite loss of resolution, the sign remains legible. The following characteristics are considered valuable for fonts viewed by older adults: â¢ Sans-serif â¢ Consistent stroke widths Source: The Sign Users Guide, Copyright 1988, by James Claus and Karen E. Claus and Sign of the Times Publishing Company. Figure 3-12. Snellen Visual Acuity Chart. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-13. Comparison between sans-serif font and a font with serifs.
44 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities â¢ Open counter forms â¢ Pronounced ascenders and descenders â¢ Wider horizontal proportions â¢ More distinct forms for each character (such as tails on the lowercase letters âtâ and âjâ) â¢ Extended horizontal strokes for certain letterforms (such as the arm of the lowercase letter ârâ or the crossbar of the lowercase letter âtâ) 220.127.116.11 Symbols Symbols can serve as a visual shorthand that is helpful for travelers with cognitive disabilities. However, there is no universal symbol standard for aviation. Therefore, the key to using symbols effectively is promoting comprehension and legibility. While there is little documented research on symbol comprehension and legibility, research from Traffic Control Devices Pooled Fund Study (Katz et al. 2008) helped identify situations that were, or were not, appropriate for using symbols. Generally, participants in this study thought the use of symbols was a good idea since it can be faster to âreadâ symbols and thus they take less time to convey a message or direction. However, participants expressed a concern that sym- bols can also be confusing and misleading. Unless the symbol conveys a clear message, partici- pants considered text to be a better choice. Comments from participants during this discussion included the following: â¢ Itâs complicated if there are too many words. â¢ Symbols are sometimes more confusing than words. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-14. Comparative letter-spacing guide. Source: Typography and the Aging Eye: Typeface Legibility for Older Viewers with Vision Problems by Paul Nini (01.23.06). Figure 3-15. Frutiger Bold font as seen by person with no vision problem (top image) and person experiencing a loss of light and focus (bottom image).
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 45 â¢ Sometimes symbols are wrong. â¢ Symbols are quicker to understand if youâre familiar with them. â¢ Symbols are universal. â¢ Symbols are good if they are tied to an international standard. â¢ Symbols are easier and faster to read as opposed to words. â¢ Symbols are great if they are obvious. â¢ Combine words and symbols on one sign. It is a best practice to consistently use both symbols and words on a sign. However, certain symbols are essentially universally comprehended; e.g., the restroom symbol. By comparison, symbols that are poorly comprehended should be carefully evaluated before using. Figure 3-16 shows the inconsistency in âEXITâ symbols used at various airports. All newly built or renovated multiuse restrooms in U.S. airports are required to be accessible. Furthermore, per ADA Standards, once all the restrooms in a facility are accessible, they do not need to display the symbol of accessibility. However, not everyone traveling through a U.S.- based airport is aware of this requirement and instead assumes that none of the restrooms have wheelchair access. Therefore, a recommended best practice is to include the symbol of accessibil- ity as part of all restroom identification, as shown in Figure 3-17. AIGA AMS LHR MUC PEK Source: AIGA and ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Notes: AIGA = American Institute of Graphic Arts; AMS = Amsterdam Airport Schiphol; LHR = Heathrow Airport; MUC = Munich Airport; PEK = Beijing Capital International Airport. Figure 3-16. Exit symbol comparison. Source: Courtesy of Gresham, Smith and Partners Figure 3-17. Restroom identification signs with the symbol of accessibility along with high-contrast colors and legible fonts at Philadelphia International Airport.
46 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Inside of a restroom, it is not a requirement to identify the stalls that are accessible. However, given the various stall sizes, designs, and so forth, it is not always easy to discern which stalls are ambulatory and wheelchair accessible. Combinations of low-vision, cognitive, and mobility issues make the identification of which stalls are accessible a quick and easy recommendation to implement (see Figure 3-18). 18.104.22.168 Arrows Arrows are powerful design elements that require careful planning and consistent application because if they are used incorrectly, they can take travelers out of their way and waste time and energy. In particular, it is important to evaluate when using plain language such as âstraight aheadâ might be more helpful than an arrow pointing up or down, such as when there is a risk of the arrow being confused with âupstairsâ or âdownstairs.â Also, consider using the words âupstairsâ or âdownstairsâ when vertical transitions are either non-intuitive or complicated vertical transition wayfinding scenarios. Avoid using diagonal arrows when possible, and place directional signs so either a simple âupâ arrow or âleftâ or ârightâ arrow can be used to clearly communicate the proper decision. For example, do not combine two pieces of wayfinding information into one sign and use a diagonal arrow to try and communicate to a customer to continue forward for a distance and then turn. These scenarios require two signs: the first with a âstraight aheadâ arrow, and the second sign with a 90-degree ârightâ or âleftâ arrow as shown in Figure 3-19 and Figure 3-20. The result of proper planning and placement is clear, concise wayfinding that avoids using diagonal arrows that can create unnecessary confusion. Similar situations can occur at transition points when a single directional sign with a diagonal arrow tries to guide customers to a destination that is actually beyond the transition point. The correct solution is to use two signs; the first sign uses a simple, straight arrow and the second sign uses a right or left arrow (Figure 3-20). The other consideration when exploring the use of angled arrows is when the direction involves a change in level. Bundling the angled arrow along with the symbol for escalator, eleva- tor, or stairs will visually help communicate the level change to customers (see Figure 3-21). This type of visual communication is especially important when the customer encounters a Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-18. Accessible stall signage.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 47 Source: The Port Authority of NY & NJ Signing and Wayfinding Airport Standards Manual. Figure 3-19. Improper and proper placement of signs and use of arrows to guide customers to continue forward for a distance and then turn. Source: The Port Authority of NY & NJ Signing and Wayfinding Airport Standards Manual. Figure 3-20. Improper and proper placement of signs and use of arrows guiding customers to a destination beyond a transition point. Source: AECOM Figure 3-21. Angled arrows bundled with escalator symbol at Port Columbus International Airport.
48 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities non-intuitive scenario that may be contrary to expectations, e.g., having to navigate under or over a road to find services. 22.214.171.124 Maps Well-designed maps, whether static, dynamic, or interactive, are an effective means of com- municating wayfinding orientation and navigational content. Reference Section 126.96.36.199 for a detailed discussion of mapping strategies and best practices. 3.2.2 Application Elements of applying signage include continuity, connectivity, and consistency; content and terminology; placement; intuitive architectural design; and landmarks. Each of these elements is discussed below. 188.8.131.52 Continuity, Connectivity, and Consistency A primary goal of this guidebook is to help airports understand the need for and importance of developing a wayfinding strategy that supports a holistic solution for communicating infor- mation to aging travelers and persons with disabilities. The application of key sign characteristics begins with a review of the fundamental wayfinding and design principle concepts through the three Cs of wayfinding: â¢ ContinuityâIs your wayfinding system the one common thread that provides continuity in a diverse and complex environment as your customers navigate from one place to another? â¢ ConnectivityâDoes your wayfinding system deliver the right message at the right location at the right time? â¢ ConsistencyâIf there is one word to describe the mainstay of an airport wayfinding system, it is consistency. From the moment a traveler enters the airport until they board their plane, information must be presented in a consistent manner. Does your wayfinding system com- municate information consistently throughout the customerâs journey? Consistency becomes visible to your customers through the following design elements: â Content and terminology â Visibility and legibility â Typography and symbology â Format and color â Placement Consistent presentation of information extends to other forms of communication like maps, directories, and websites. Information or messaging itself must be consistent across the various means of communication so the public does not become confused by the use of different terms for the same thing. The mainstay of consistency ties directly back to the primary objective, which is to achieve uniform application of the airportâs wayfinding design standards. 184.108.40.206 Content and Terminology The key concept for wayfinding content is to simplify. There is limited sign real estate, so it is imperative to use plain and simple language with as few words as possible. While this is especially important for persons with cognitive disabilities or literacy issues, keeping it simple will benefit all customers. It sounds obvious that signage should be legible, uncluttered, and easy to follow, but the complexity of spaces like an airport inevitably places pressure on a wayfinding system to include more signs with more and more information. Having too many signs with too much information will ultimately undermine the success and integrity of the signage, with adverse effects on customers. For example, over-signing can negatively affect
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 49 comprehension for people with cognitive issues and impact legibility for persons who struggle with visual acuity. When it comes to choosing words for the airportâs wayfinding system, keep them as simple as possible and use plain language, not airline/airport jargon. The other essential consideration is consistency; in other words, do not use different terms for the same thing. Consistency in terminology must apply to all forms of communication. Whether the wayfinding challenge is long distances, multiple decision points, non-intuitive circulation, or a combination thereof, continuity is critical if airports are to avoid creating gaps in information. For example, there will be multiple signs leading the customer from the origination to the destination. Once the customer begins following the âtrail of breadcrumbs,â the message for that destination needs to be present all along their route. Aging travelers and persons with cognitive disabilities, especially, need to be able to trust that the information theyâre being given is correct. If it disappears, doubt creeps in and they will begin to wonder if they made a mistake or missed something, raising levels of anxiety and stress. The next key concept is to establish a clear message hierarchy for wayfinding content, with the goal of avoiding information overload. For example, prioritize what information to list at a given decision point in the route. In other words, what is the minimum amount of information necessary to move a passenger to the next decision point? A common wayfinding myth is that the best way to solve a wayfinding problem is to list every possible destination. In reality, this is rarely the best solution. Establishing primary messaging versus secondary messaging will help keep it simple and help enhance the wayfinding experience for aging travelers and persons with disabilities. While the lists below will vary from one airport to another, they are helpful in under- standing the concept. Typical primary messages in a terminal are related to â¢ Ticketing/check-in â¢ Baggage claim â¢ Gates â¢ Ground transportation Typical secondary messages in a terminal are related to â¢ Concessions â¢ Elevators â¢ Information (desks or directories) â¢ Parking â¢ Restrooms The content that many airports overlook is providing guidance to areas where aging travelers and persons with disabilities can find assistance. 220.127.116.11 Placement Proper placement of information is directly related to connectivityâdelivering the right message at the right location at the right time. The importance of placement has been noted in Section 18.104.22.168, which illustrates how poor planning can result in wayfinding disconnects by inadvertently encouraging customers to take shortcuts and not providing the right information at the right location. Additional placement considerations include posting information at eye level along the customer journeyâat entry points, ticket counters, flight information displays, and directories, and so forth. Communicating at eye level is important to customers with poor visual acuity because they can walk up as closely as they need to read the information (see Figure 3-22)
50 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities or even scan it with a mobile device (see Section 3.3.2, Figure 3-29). It is also important to those seated in mobility devices who may actually miss overhead signage altogether and not just have an uncomfortable experience trying to read it. Placement also comes into play in the form of planned adjacencies at key decision nodes for information sources: virtual, e.g., FIDS; verbal, e.g., staff positions and information desks; and visual, e.g., airport directories, and so forth (see Section 4.1, P-PD.07). On an even larger scale, placement in the form of proximity of vertical transitions also has a significant impact on aging travelers and persons with disabilities. Vertical circulation devices such as stairs, escalators, and elevators should be in close proximity and in easy view from entries and major nodes (see Section 4.1, P-PD.16). Lack of coordination and planning can result in the placement of obstacles that block the direct line of sight, which is an essential part of a customer finding their way through complex spaces such as an airport terminal. As shown in Section 5.1.2, D-AP.26, hiding essential vertical access like elevators places yet another wayfinding burden on customers, especially aging travelers and persons with disabilities who rely on elevators to change levels. ACRP Report 67: Airport Passen- ger Conveyance Systems Planning Guidebook notes how customers risk injury when they cannot find the elevators they need and resort to trying to use an escalator instead. The report also notes instances where the signage for the elevator does not indicate the same destination as the escala- tor, resulting in confusion among customers. Additionally, the report validates the importance of labeling the floors/stops inside the elevator to match the signage and/or clearly identify the pas- senger destination rather than just the floor numbers (TransSolutions, Clemson University, and Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. 2012). Lines of sight that are blocked by retail and concessions encroaching into passenger circulation space and by advertising kiosks added to boost revenue are examples of how good planning can be undermined by poor placement of non-wayfinding elements. 22.214.171.124 Intuitive Architectural Design The success of visual wayfinding is also tied strongly to intuitive architecture, which is an exten- sion of placement as it relates to how the overall airport space is designed and the role of con- nectivity. Research has consistently shown that good wayfinding begins with architectural design Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-22. Information placed at eye level.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 51 (OâNeill 1991). An integral part of a holistic wayfinding approach is the idea of connectivity. In the new Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal in Atlanta, a facility of 1.2 million square feet, connectivity was achieved by considering intuitive wayfinding early in the archi- tectural design and layout of the building. For example, the angled ticket counters, as shown in Figure 3-23 and Figure 3-24, push passengers through ticketing to the security checkpoint. This movement is reinforced by the floor pattern and ceiling movement, and is part of an intuitive wayfinding plan throughout the terminal. Travelers also see airplanes parked on the tarmac through floor-to-ceiling windows in the ticketing lobby (Figure 3-25). This clear line of sight for customers toward the departure gates is good psychological reassurance they are headed in the right direction. The overall result sim- plifies this journey segment because very little directional signage is needed in Atlantaâs new international ticket hall. Source: Gresham, Smith and Partners Figure 3-23. Blue arrows track departing passenger flow from curbside through angled ticket counters toward security. Source: Â© Chris Cunningham, Courtesy of Gresham, Smith and Partners Figure 3-24. Visual wayfinding via architecture: diagonally situated ticket counters, floor patterns, and lighting provide intuitive wayfinding cues.
52 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 126.96.36.199 Landmarks Navigation by landmarks is as old as humankind itself, predating the written word. In this report, a landmark is defined as a point of reference that helps one orient themselves in a familiar or unfamiliar environment. Multiple research studies show how visual landmarks can be very helpful for persons with cognitive issues, preventing unnecessary assistance and/or an over- dependence on technology. Landmarks with auditory features can help orient persons who are blind or have low vision. Research also indicates landmarks can be more helpful than using cardinal descriptors or left/right instructions (Gerkensmeyer and Wenig 2013). Effective wayfinding landmarks in an airport environment have several traits in common: â¢ They are memorable â¢ They have a distinct shape â¢ They are easily described and understood in simple words â¢ They can be stylized or simplified for easy recognition on an airport map/directory Airports should plan and locate landmarks at focal points and intersections so they are detect- able from as many positions as possible without interrupting the path of travel. Also, as part of the planning effort, airports should develop a landmark system to make different parts of the airport as noticeable and memorable as possible. When and where applicable, set up key landmarks that are multisensory by including tactile, sound, and visual identifiers. An effective landmark that illustrates these principles and characteristics is a fountain. It has a visual element that is memorable, easily described, and understood in simple words and also has an auditory component that is easily recognizable and therefore memorable. The combina- tion of the movement of water and/or the fountain configuration creates a unique shape. Tactile identification of the landmark can be communicated through various means, such as a change in floor surface surrounding the landmark. Sensory perception evokes emotion in a memorable way. The sight and sound of the animated water feature at Detroit Metropolitan Airportâs McNamara Terminal is an excellent example of a wayfinding landmark (see Figure 3-26). âLandmarkâ is also a technical term in O&M. One definition of landmark is âobjects or a con- figuration of objects that are readily identifiable (visually, auditorially or tactilely) and unique to an areaâ (Jacobson, 1993). Fountains, as shown in Figure 3-26, are ideal across travel modalities. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-25. Expansive views of the tarmac can inspire wayfinding confidence in travelers.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 53 The rumble of an escalator bank, for example, in a certain setting might be a landmark as might the carpeting along concourse edges, as shown in Figure 3-27. What constitutes an easily acces- sible tactile landmark for cane travelers, however, may be âinvisibleâ to guide dog travelers; this includes tactile guide strips. The key point is that all landmarks do not work equally well for all types of disabilities and should be evaluated accordingly. Landmarks can also be useful on a more granular level. Basic elements can help a cus- tomer with disabilities. A careful, standardized arrangement of basic elements can help a customer with disabilities navigate a functional area such as check-in, a gate, or a restroom. In the boarding gate shown in Figure 3-27, the gate podium serves as a landmark for the boarding door to its right. This is reinforced by the use of different floor surfaces for the boarding area versus seating (to the right) and charging station (to the left). In addition, a small color patch of carpet lines up directly with the boarding door, which itself is painted to contrast with the wall. If all gates have a similar arrangement, then customers, including those with vision loss, immediately know where the boarding door, charging stations, and seating areas are located once they identify the podium. Source: Photo courtesy of Vito Palmisano. Figure 3-26. Water feature at Detroit Metropolitan Airportâs McNamara Terminal. Source: Â© Chris Cunningham, Courtesy of Gresham, Smith and Partners Figure 3-27. Boarding gate area at Atlantaâs Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.
54 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities For a person who is blind, just knowing their surroundings enriches the travel experience. For persons with cognitive disabilities, using a mobile application with a photo of where they are, e.g., the boarding gate, will confirm that they are in the right place. 3.3 Verbal Verbal communication refers to audible, spoken communication, often in the form of live, person-to-person conversation, announcements, or recordings, and is another critical piece of the puzzle. Customer survey research about wayfinding conducted by Gresham, Smith and Part- ners (October 2013) has shown that approximately 10 percent of people who are not helped by signage depend on verbal assistance. At an airport with 10 million passengers, this equates to 1 million passengers who need verbal assistance each year. It is very important to offer verbal assistance to aging travelers and passengers with disabilities who need further instruction on how to reach their destination. This section will address who should provide verbal information, how it should be provided, and where it should be provided. It is important for airports to have a wayfinding strategy that ensures travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to information that is communicated verbally. 3.3.1 Customer Assistance Customer service agents (CSAs), whether volunteers or full-time employees, should be trained to speak clearly and always look the customer in the eye when communicating. Visual eye con- tact can often yield clues as to whether the person understands what is being communicated or not. CSAs should also be aware of the need to speak slowly and distinctly when talking to people who are deaf or hard of hearing and be careful not to cover their mouth. Those working at a computer must remember to look up in order to be understood. Additionally, the design of the space should avoid casting shadows on the face of a CSA, which causes problems for lip readers. Airports wishing to provide an exceptional customer LOS will extend disability awareness and verbal communication training to all employees that come into contact with the public. Note pads or digital tablets should also be kept handy to help persons with hearing and speech disabilities communicate with CSAs. A face-to-face communicator called an UbiDuo, which features two keyboards and screens, is now being piloted by TSA at its security checkpoints to help communicate with customers with hearing loss (see Figure 3-28). Source: Microlink.pc Figure 3-28. UbiDuo communication device.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 55 Some U.S. airports (e.g., Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Minneapolisâ St. Paul International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport) are now providing video remote American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting on iPads or laptops. It is worth noting that most countries have their own national sign languages. They are quite distinct from spoken languages and generally do not follow the same geographic distribution. For example, British Sign Language is very different from ASL. Finally, CSAs should bring an attitude of understanding and empathy to these customers, who are often shy about asking for help. Once again, disability awareness training is imperative in giving CSAs the confidence to communicate without fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, thus ensuring an equal level of engagement and service for these customers. 3.3.2 Hybrid Communication There are multiple examples of communicating information that blend two or more of the three Vs of communication. One such example is the Google Translate application, which can translate 90 languages using voice input conversation mode and translate written information on real-world objects such as signs in 27 languages via real-time video in augmented reality mode by using a mobile deviceâs camera (see Figure 3-29). The Google Translate application is virtual communication that is driven by technologyâ visual in that it can translate wayfinding information and verbal using live voice conversations. Equipping airport frontline staff with training and tools like the Google Translate application is part of an overall wayfinding strategy to help meet the communication needs of an increasingly diverse traveling public. Access to verbal information should be made available on both the landside and airside using either stationary information booths and/or roving CSAs. Whether stationed at a fixed information desk or roving, CSAs can now access real-time, airport-wide information at their fingertips, with tablets that create a blend of verbal and digital communication to assist customers (see Figure 3-30). A less obvious means of communication is audible cues. A good example is auditory identifi- cation cues used both inside and outside of elevators that can help persons with vision loss. Note that when the elevator is located in an especially noisy area, e.g., next to a security checkpoint, the volume of the exterior audible cue may need to be increased. Audible cues can also indicate the beginning or end of moving walkways. This information is an excellent example of universal design, as it not only helps persons with disabilities but also Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-29. Mobile Google Translate application in use at Nashville International Airport.
56 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities other travelers who may be preoccupied with their mobile device or handling luggage. Consis- tency here is important for safety reasons. Remote interpreting (at an airport information desk or Travelerâs Aid) is another example of how verbal and virtual communication are blended to help assist travelers who are deaf when no staff member is versed in sign language. When this service can be applied to more than just sign language, it can help make the technology worth the investment. An example might be using this service for foreign language communication in addition to helping customers with disabilities. (See Chapter 4, P-CC.08.) 3.3.3 Text Maps Maps are a proven and effective way to deliver orientation and navigational content, as well as providing information about services and amenities within a specific area (see Section 188.8.131.52 for additional details). However, information contained in visual map form is not accessible to a person who is blind or has low vision. One alternative to better serve those individuals is the use of text maps. Simply put, a text map puts the information contained in a map into words. A text map is a description of an environment or space that can be delivered in an audible format to someone with visual loss to help them develop a general understanding of what to expect when they are physically present in the space and what cues they can use to orient themselves and navigate from one point to another. This is referred to as developing a cognitive map of a given space. Research shows that without access to an accurate, global spatial representation in the form of a cognitive map, it is much harder to perform tasks such as making a detour, determining shortcuts, and reorienting if lost (Long and Giudice 2010). The ability for a traveler who is blind or has low vision to match audible and/or tactile cues in the airport with their own cognitive map is a criti- cal part of useful, nonvisual wayfinding. This type of audible communication is typically very economical to create. Once developed, an audible text map may be accessed as a stand-alone resource, either prior to arriving at the space or once there. It may also be used with, or incorporated into, a mobile wayfinding appli- cation. Individuals who are blind could access the information from an airportâs website, for instance, using a computer or mobile device with screen-reading or enlarging software. With a mobile device, they could download the text and read it while in flight. Source: Changi Airport Figure 3-30. Roving customer service agent equipped with tablet.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 57 The same content can also be leveraged as scripted information used by CSAs stationed in the airport to communicate verbal directions more effectively. Furthermore, these same text maps can be translated into multiple languages for airport customers who do not speak English or speak only limited English. 184.108.40.206 Text Map Principles When developing a text map, it is important to consider the audience and that it consists of multiple groups of individuals with different needs and agendas. At a typical airport, departing, arriving, and connecting passengers intermingle in many of the same areas, and each group has very specific circulation patterns and service access needs. The following are some basic principles to serve as guidelines for the development of text maps: 1. Begin with a high-level, contextual overview of the building or area. Starting with a broad description of a building and its surroundings offers persons with vision loss an understand- ing of where they are spatially. For example, knowing whether the property is one building or separate buildings connected by passageways is highly useful in understanding why one needs to travel along certain pathways. A big-picture orientation enables a person to better understand where buildings and elements are in relationship to one another. 2. Include signage information. While it is obvious that people who are blind canât read signs, the information contained on them often cannot be found easily in other places. Mapmakers assume that sighted people will have a general understanding of locations by looking at a map and then obtain more specific information or reinforcement by reading signs. Blind people need this additional guidance and direction included in the text map itself. Usually, it is not enough to simply describe a building and the objects within it. A text map should also include information about the destinations and services within each terminal including airline loca- tions at check-in and gates. 3. Be descriptive. Include specific information that is useful to someone trying to navigate or locate services or amenities. Offering general statements is typically not helpful. Saying that restaurants are world-class is not as useful as identifying them by name or cuisine. If someone is seeking a full-service restaurant, then clearly identifying a cinnamon bun eatery is more useful than describing it generally. Similarly, knowing that the rail station at the airport oper- ates 24 hours a day and travels through the downtown business district is more useful than labeling it clean, efficient, and reliable. 4. A text map should describe the routes to be followed by each category of passenger and should include descriptions of elements encountered along each route. Two different methods of describing environmental navigation for persons who are blind predominate. The first involves offering specific directions from point to point in a sequence. This method is useful in guiding people to major areas of an airport, such as TSA checkpoints, ticket counters, baggage claim areas, and ground transportation, and it is most effective when focused on a particular pas- senger type and sequence (e.g., departing, arriving, or connecting passengers). While there is a practical limit to the number of destinations that can be accommodated with this method, it should include routes to/from all major modes of ground transportation, including parking. A second method of description spells out the locations of major items in an environment, enabling an individual who is blind to locate these items and understand their location in rela- tion to other items. It is highly useful for a person who is blind to learn about all the different elements in an environment. For most airports, a successful text map will include a combination of these two descriptive methods, describing routes and sequences while also providing descrip- tions of landmark elements to help the listener understand the overall layout of the space. 5. Once a preliminary text map has been developed and formatted so it can be accessed by indi- viduals who are blind, it is most important to conduct a testing phase in which test subjects who are blind are provided with text map information for various sequences and allowed
58 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities to use it for orientation, navigation, and exploration of the mapped space. This will help to identify any gaps, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies in the text map and improve its overall effectiveness for the targeted user groups. Periodic retesting at regular intervals will also help maintain the text mapâs usefulness. 220.127.116.11 Text Map Example This section provides a text map developed for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport by the ACRP Project 07-13 research team as an example. The text map does not include step-by-step route descriptions as these were included instead in a prototype mobile application. Visual maps of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport are provided (see Figures 3-31, 3-32, and 3-33) for comparison with the text map. Airport Overview. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has one terminal which lies on an east-west axis, with the terminal entrances facing north. The terminal has two main levels: departures for departing flights on the upper level and arrivals for arriving flights on the lower level. Each level is accessed by a roadway called Presidential Boulevard that approaches from the west. Doors are numbered from west to east. Door 1 is furthest west. Garage and Parking. Directly across the roadway on both levels is a parking garage. Level 3 of the garage, currently used for rental car pick-up and drop-off, connects to the terminal depar- tures level via two raised pedestrian crossings. Level 1 of the garage connects to the terminal arrivals level via five crosswalks, three of which are raised pedestrian crossings at sidewalk level. There are no traffic signals or truncated domes to warn that one is entering the roadway. There is a traffic island at the midway point on both roadways. SARAs or dog parks are located in front of the garage at both ends on the ground level close to pedestrian entries. Accessible parking spaces Figure 3-31. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport terminal mapâairline ticket counters.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 59 Figure 3-32. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport terminal mapâfood and beverage. Figure 3-33. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport terminal mapâbaggage claim and ground transportation.
60 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities are adjacent to east and west pedestrian entries on Levels 1 and 2 of the garage, i.e., closest to terminal entrances and the elevator. Other on-site parking facilities include Lot A for short-term parking and Lots B to G for long-term parking located north of the garage. Each lot is served by lift-equipped parking shuttles, with accessible parking spaces situated next to the covered shuttle stops. Not all shuttles are wheelchair accessible, but the driver will call for one as needed. Valet parking is also available. Ground TransportationâDepartures or Upper Level. The curbside area along the termi- nal is used for passenger drop-off by automobile. Hotel shuttles stop at the far east end. Drop-off by parking shuttles and for valet parking is on the garage side of the traffic island. Only three airlines offer curbside check-in: United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Delta Airlines. Departures LevelâPre-Security. The departures level is the upper level of the terminal. On elevator buttons, the departures level is labeled âTâ for Terminal. This long, relatively narrow area before security is aligned east to west, or left to right, as one enters the space from passenger curbside drop-off. The seven sets of entry doors from the roadway are numbered from west to east, with Door 1 furthest west and Door 7 furthest east. Curbside check-in locations are as follows: United Airlines outside Door 2, Southwest Airlines outside Door 4, and Delta Airlines outside Door 5. There are two main security checkpoints, numbered 1 and 2, that are centrally located in the terminal on the south side of the space. Checkpoint 1 is located east of Checkpoint 2. At the far west end is an additional checkpoint, number 3, to provide access to Gates 15 to 24 at that end of the terminal. Those taking international flights may be directed to Checkpoint 4 at the far east end. Ticket counters located east of Checkpoint 1, listed from east to west, include Allegiant Air, Air Canada, Virgin America, Delta Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. Ticket counters located west of Checkpoint 2, listed from east to west, include American Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, US Airways, Texas Sky, and JetBlue. For the most part, airline gates are located at the same end of the terminal as their ticket counters. Other pre-security facilities and services are located along the wall with entry doors. On the east side across from Checkpoint 1 is the Fara CafÃ©. On the west side across from Checkpoint 2 is the SoCo Market, which also has a seating area with tables and chairs. Located between the cafÃ© and the market, situated from east to west, are the following: a staircase leading up to the Fara Sky Bar, a self-service kiosk for flowers, a Bank of America ATM machine, a paging phone, a mailbox, an automated external defibrillator (AED) machine, a menâs restroom, bi-level drink- ing fountains, a womenâs restroom, and an accessible family or companion restroom, identified by a sign that says âSpecial Needs.â To move between terminal levels, there are escalators and elevators on the east and west sides of the building as well as one set of stairs just west of the SoCo Market. All are located along the wall with entry doors. The west elevator is perpendicular to the main path of travel and located past the entrance to the SoCo Market, across from Checkpoint 2. The east elevator bank, which has two elevator cars, is parallel to the main path of travel and located behind the table area at the Fara CafÃ©, across from Security Checkpoint 2. A second elevator there is perpendicular to the main path of travel and located past the cafÃ©âs service counter. It provides access up to the âMâ or mezzanine-level Fara Sky Bar and down to the arrivals level, labeled âBâ for âBaggageâ on elevator buttons. Terminal ConcourseâPost-Security. The terminal concourse is made up of a long, curving central section with straight extensions at each end. Gate numbers run from east to west. In the straight section at the far east end, Gate 1 is on the north side of the concourse,
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 61 Gates 2 and 3 are along the east wall, and Gates 4 and 5 are on the south side. Gates 6 to 15 on the curved portion of the concourse are all located on the south side. In the straight extension at the far west end, odd number Gates 17, 19, 21, and 23 are on the south side, and even number Gates 16, 18, 20, and 22 are on the north side. Gates 24 and 25 are along the west wall. All gates have jet bridges except Gate 1, which is on the lower or ground level and reached via stairs or an elevator. Security entry points into the concourse are as follows: Checkpoint 1 enters between Gates 8 and 9, and Checkpoint 2 enters between Gates 11 and 12. Checkpoint 3 enters next to Gate 16. Checkpoint 4, which is used for international flights only, enters between Gates 6 and 7. Exits from the concourse are located between Checkpoints 1 and 2. One can either take escalators or stairs down to baggage claim or walk past the escalators to the departures pre-security area and use the elevators there. In emergencies, passengers may exit the concourse at all checkpoints. If terminal elevators are out of service, those who cannot use steps may then exit the building on the upper or terminal level. Alternatively, passengers may be directed to external stairs or elevators leading down to the tarmac. Emergency exits with external elevators are located at Gate 7 behind Ruta Maya and Gates 13 and 21. Most other gates, from 4 to 23, have stairs for emergency egress. Post-security facilities and services such as restrooms, drinking fountains, ATMs, restaurants, bars, retail stores, and kiosks are located primarily along the north side of the concourse. There are two food courts with dining areas opposite Gates 7 and 12. Clustered with them are menâs and womenâs restrooms, a companion restroom, drinking fountains, and a paging phone. Addi- tional facilities and services are located at the far east and west ends of the concourse. Recharging stations are available in each gate area. In addition, there are two premium lounges opposite Gate 13: the Admirals Club and the United Club. These are on the mezzanine level and accessed by stairs or elevator. Arrivals or Baggage Claim Level. The arrivals level, labeled âBâ for âBaggageâ on elevator buttons, is the lower or ground level of the terminal. The central south portion of the space is occupied by five baggage carousels numbered from west to east. Dividing them are two sets of double escalators, each with a central flight of stairs, that bring passengers down from the terminal concourse above. These escalators are located between Carousels 1 and 2 and Carousels 4 and 5. To the rear of the baggage carousels along the south wall are menâs and womenâs restrooms, drinking fountains, and paging phones as well as Smarte Carte machines. These are located behind Carousels 1 and 2 and Carousels 4 and 5. The only companion restroom is between Car- ousels 1 and 2. At the east end of the arrivals level on the south side is customs and international baggage claim. At the west end on the south side are counters for rental cars and SuperShuttle as well as the airport security office and lost and found. Along the north wall are six sets of automatic doors leading to the lower roadway and ground transportation. Also on this side of the space, to the east and west, are elevators and escalators to the departures level. An information counter with a seating area is centrally placed opposite Carousel 2. Ground TransportationâArrivals or Lower Level. The curbside area along the terminal is used for passenger pick-up by automobile. It is labeled from the west by letters A to K. Charter buses pick up at Section K at the far east end. All other types of pick-ups are on the garage side of the traffic island, which has sections numbered from 1 to 4. Off-airport parking shuttles and SuperShuttle are in Section 1 at the far west end. Airport parking shuttle pick-ups are in Section 2 in the central part of the traffic island. Taxi pick-up is in Section 3 to the east. The Capital Metro Bus stop is in Section 4 at the far east end. This is also where paratransit picks up and drops off. Valet parking return is at the far east end of the garage, across from Section 4.
62 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 3.3.4 Illumination Illumination is not an obvious consideration associated with verbal communication. How- ever, it is very important to maintain optimum lighting levels throughout the airport at all times of the day to support lip reading and reading signs, etc. Proper illumination is also important at verbal touch points throughout customer journey segments, e.g., at the ticket counter with the airline agent, at security checkpoints with TSA agents, and at information desks with customer service representatives. 3.4 Virtual When the term âvirtualâ is used with regard to wayfinding, it describes dynamic, non-static navigational toolsâin essence, digital tools ranging from computers used at home for pre-trip planning, to out-of-house tools like mobile devices, to airport-provided digital information such as dynamic directories, interactive kiosks, and flight information displays that enhance the travel experience for all customers, including aging travelers and persons with disabilities. Virtual tools offer an opportunity to improve wayfinding at the airport when they are deployed using a con- nected, consistent, and continuous methodology. Virtual tools can also be deployed to offer the benefits of a wayfinding system to a larger and more diverse group of travelers by supplementing wayfinding with personalized systems, adaptive systems, and integrated systemsâfor example, visual notification synchronized with audible notifications or interactive systems designed to meet the needs of users with specific disabilities. 3.4.1 Dynamic Non-Interactive Wayfinding To provide wayfindingâmaps and directionsâfor travelers, most airports are turning to digital signage as a more efficacious solution than the traditional printed signage. Dynamic, non-interactive wayfinding signs provide information that may change based on content man- agement systems (CMSs), database updates, or other triggers, such as locations/directions for scheduled events. However, being ânon-interactive,â they do not provide a way for individu- als to query a display. Dynamic, non-interactive wayfinding solutions should follow the same criteria as static wayfinding systems. Contrast, color, legibility, symbology, and intuitive-use concepts should be applied to technology solutions. A consistent design across wayfinding sys- tems, visual and virtual, provides confirmation to travelers as they move from decision point to decision point. 18.104.22.168 Pre-Trip Planning The ability for travelers to plan in advance via digital media is becoming more and more effec- tive. For older adults and passengers with disabilities, advance knowledge can greatly enhance the wayfinding experience that is part of their overall customer experience. The Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist recommends including a link on an airportâs website for disability- related information and resources. The preferred LOS is to locate this link on the home page. A higher LOS would be to have the link visible above the scroll (see Figure 3-34). Website information should be developed in a format that allows easy, accurate conversion to other formats by persons with disabilities. It is also important for an airport to include a text version of their airport map on their website (see Section 3.3.3). Research shows that connecting passengers experience greater wayfinding difficulty than either departing or arriving passengers. Pre-trip planning can be an excellent tool to help older adults and persons with disabilities. London Heathrow Airportâs website has an excellent, easy- to-use tool that helps travelers understand the transfer process and establish expectations for
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 63 what can be one of the more complex airport environments for passengers to navigate, with travel times as long as 90 minutes to connect from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 (see Figure 3-35). This type of communication is very useful to older adults and passengers with disabilities. However, while a passenger who is blind can access the information on London Heathrow Air- portâs website, it does not help them travel independently because they cannot see the âbread- crumb trailâ of purple signs that guide connecting passengers through the airport. Nevertheless, a mobile wayfinding application could provide the necessary information for a passenger who is blind to benefit from this pre-trip planning tool. Airline websites can also be a good source of pre-trip planning information. Similar to air- port websites, the airline websites vary significantly in where a customer finds this informa- tion as well as what level of information is offered. Some airlines have information available at the time of booking a flight (see Figure 3-36). Other airlines provide even more detail when checking in online for a flight. As of December 12, 2015, ACAA regulations require all airline websites marketing to customers in the United States to provide similar accommodation request forms and to meet accessibility requirements (WCAG 2.0 Level AA) on webpages providing core travel information and services. As of December 12, 2016, the remaining pages must also be accessible. Source: LAWA Figure 3-34. Los Angeles International Airport website with link to disability-related information on the home page above the scroll.
64 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Airport websites will also typically offer a map, directory, or wayfinding tool. Such tools should be consistent with what a passenger will experience at the airport, thus reducing or eliminating the need to relearn directions, landmarks, colors, or terminology at the airport. Figure 3-37 and Figure 3-38 show the level of consistency between the types of virtual communication offered to passengers for pre-trip planning, on-site navigation, and mobile use at Boston Logan Inter- national Airport. Augmented reality is another feature being added to airport website maps and directories for pre-trip planning. The site will typically feature a digital map of the airport facilities as well as a video, which may be captioned and audio-enabled, detailing the experience with an actual vir- tual look at that location in the airport. Figure 3-39 shows a page from Munich Airportâs website with a digital map in the primary navigation area and the virtual look-in to that actual point in the airport. Figure 3-40 shows the virtual look-in in the primary navigation area and the digital map minimized on the bottom right of the screen. To create a continuous, consistent, connected experience, users may download their desired wayfinding route using the Munich Airport appli- cation, and the application will enable the same views once the user arrives on-site at the airport. This illustrates the consistency from website to on-site navigation using technology. While the website and navigation maps offer highlighted services which are accessible, they do not include all of the selectable elements of the Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist. 22.214.171.124 Accessible Help/Call Points Accessible help/call points are easy-to-use communication devices that provide means for arriving travelers needing accessibility information or assistance from a remotely located service Source: London Heathrow Airport Figure 3-35. Screenshot from London Heathrow Airportâs website showing connection time and simple step-by-step instructions.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 65 Source: Southwest Airlines Figure 3-36. Screenshot from Southwest Airlines website of page to assist passengers with disabilities when making a flight reservation online.
66 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities provider (see Figure 3-41). These devices help provide convenient points for people with dis- abilities to initiate their wayfinding experience upon their arrival at the terminal. Usually in the form of totems or kiosks, and typically positioned near main airport terminal entrances (or sometimes even in accessible car parking facilities), they can be used by those with functional limitations to announce their arrival at the airport and to request wheelchair, electric cart, escort, or other such assistance to further their journey into the terminal and eventually to their departure gate. Help points should be identified with international accessibility symbols to clearly indicate their specific purpose and should be placed so that they are easily accessed by travelers with mobility issues (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc.) yet do not present an obstruction to normal pedestrian traffic flow when in use. 126.96.36.199 Directories and Maps One of the travelerâs first encounters in the wayfinding experience is usually a directory sign or airport map. The traveler may experience this even before beginning their journey to the airport during pre-trip planning at home using the airportâs website. Source: Boston Logan Airport Figure 3-37. Mobile map for Boston Logan International Airport application and airport website. Source: Arora Engineers Figure 3-38. On-site interactive directory at Boston Logan International Airport.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 67 Source: Munich Airport Figure 3-39. Munich Airport website digital map with virtual reality at bottom right. Source: Munich Airport Figure 3-40. Munich Airport website with virtual reality as primary view and digital map at bottom right.
68 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Directories and maps present a plethora of names, labels, categories, and/or geographical information in an organized way that can be interpreted in an intuitive manner. Their purpose is to provide the user with relevant information that will assist them in the wayfinding decision- making process. Adaptive technologies can be incorporated into directory design to allow those with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities to process the directory information to help them navigate to their desired destination. These adaptive technologies may include intuitive interactive features such as a simple boarding pass reader or more advanced feature sets such as video analytics, which can determine age, gender, accessibility (mobility limitations such as seated versus stand- ing), and interactivity. Figure 3-42 shows one of a series of directories at Detroit Metropolitan Airport that allows users to scan a boarding pass and receive information tailored to their journey with minimal Source: Arora Engineers Figure 3-41. Examples of accessible curbside help/ call points at London Gatwick Airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, and Adolfo Suarez MadridâBarajas Airport. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-42. Dynamic directory with boarding pass scanner at Detroit Metropolitan Airportâs McNamara Terminal.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 69 interaction with the technology. The directories were designed employing the ease-of-use uni- versal design criteria. Customers with disabilities receive walk versus ride information and a âbreadcrumb trail,â as well as text directions to their gate. The directory can also be used by other passengers, and the overall primary navigation areas do not change during use. These types of directories do not help people who are blind. However, proper map orientation is helpful for those with cognitive disabilities, and the boarding pass scanner can help people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or other attention deficits. The large map also uses landmarks such as air train stops and water features to guide travelers. All may help people with cognitive disabilities. Adaptive technologies that offer audio-based information triggered by the user could also be helpful to travelers who are blind or have low vision. Map information that can be communicated in more than one form can have additional benefits. For example, there are sighted travelers who prefer listening to directions versus deciphering a visual map. Warsaw Chopin Airport currently has four interactive terminal maps that provide both tactile and audible information (see Figure 3-43). These maps, designed in cooperation with the Chance for the Blind Foundation, can be found in front of the departure hall, at the bus stop at the departure hall, in front of the arrivals hall, and at the Warsaw Chopin Airport train station. In addition to raised lines representing walls, paths, symbols, and objects, the âtyphlographicâ maps have labels in Braille and buttons to trigger descriptions and naviga- tional directions in Polish and English. Each map is fitted with a beacon that allows a customer who downloads the airportâs âYour Wayâ mobile application to locate the typhlographic directory maps by using a smartphone. The maps and voice messages are also available on the application. Maps used in airport directories can be extremely dense with information. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind several basic design requirements to leverage their usefulness to aging travelers and persons with disabilities. For travelers with mobility issues: â¢ Locate maps appropriately at major decision points and interspace to minimize distance to find information. â¢ Locate maps near information desks when possible. Not all customers will find what they are looking for on a directory. This applies to the other types of disabilities also. â¢ Use a scale that gives a sense of place and distance. Source: Altix Figure 3-43. Interactive airport map for people who are blind at Warsaw Chopin Airport.
70 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities â¢ Include all accessible features such as accessible drop-off and pick-up points and accessible parking as well as SARAs for those using service animals. â¢ Place information at eye level to help persons in wheelchairs or electric scooters or include an option on digital directories to lower information to the bottom of the screen. For travelers with cognitive issues: â¢ Locate maps near an asymmetrical part of the building that is discernable on the map. â¢ Include memorable features, architecture, art, etc. â¢ Locate maps near a landmark that is recognizableâboth in the airport and on the map. â¢ For large spaces and/or airports with multiple terminals, include a big-picture map (key plan) that conveys the overall layout of the airport as well as a detailed map of the specific area around the directory location. This is especially important for connecting passengers who need to change terminals. â¢ Align the map in a heads-up orientation so it is forward facing, and make sure the map is aligned with the airportâs layout. â¢ Include handout maps that customers can take with them to help remember routes, decision points, level changes, etc. â¢ Use terminology and symbols that are consistent airport-wide. â¢ Check that online maps are consistent with airport directory maps. For travelers who are blind, check displayed and printed maps with text maps for consistency (reference Section 3.3.3). For persons with limited vision: â¢ Use large, easy-to-read fonts and color contrast for good legibility. â¢ Highlight the location of SARAs both landside and airside. â¢ Provide proper levels of illumination. â¢ Place information at eye level for close approach. For travelers with hearing issues: â¢ Design maps and directories to meet the third and fourth principles of universal design, i.e., simple, intuitive use and perceptible information, so that those with hearing loss can understand and make use of the information independently without asking for additional assistance. â¢ Provide training and technology to enable communication for individuals with hearing loss at nearby information desks, e.g., ASL remote interpreting, hearing loop, tablet, or UbiDuo. â¢ Include on maps the hearing loop symbol to denote where loops have been installed. Developing an airport map involves thoughtful dissemination and packaging of multiple layers of information. As noted above, it is essential that every directory map be correctly oriented in a forward-facing manner. In other words, when a customer is viewing the direc- tory, straight ahead in front is at the top of the map, and areas behind the customer are at the bottom of the map. The physical placement of the directory itself is subject to different conditions, customer circulation, and key decision points that all impact the actual orientation, e.g., east-west versus north-south. Various placements and orientation can require the map itself to be rotated 90 degrees, or 180 degrees as shown in maps from T.F. Green International Airport in Figure 3-44 that demonstrate how two directories, both located on the airside, but on opposite ends, can require two different orientations of the same map. The other factor to consider is whether the directory is one-sided or two-sided, because even a single directory location that is two-sided requires the same map to be rotated 180 degrees. In the case of large airports with multiple terminals and geographic configurations, the map artwork can require an extensive effort. For example, at San Francisco International Airport, which has
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 71 four terminals in a circular ring and uses two-sided directories, as many as 16 unique maps must be developed to maintain the correct forward-facing orientation at every location. 188.8.131.52 Dynamic Directional Displays Dynamic directional displays present information to assist the user in navigating their way to a specific destination. Typically, they utilize maps to orient the user to their current locationâ âYou Are Hereââand then to direct them to their intended destination using maps and/or step-by-step directions. Dynamic directional signage is generally used to provide people with information on where a path goes and how far it is to a given destination. Directional displays can be combined with auditory guidance or Tactile Ground Surface Indica- tors (TGSIs) to assist in the wayfinding process for passengers with vision loss. (Note that TGSIs are not used in the United States. See discussion in Section 3.5.) Opportunities for applying dynamic Source: Courtesy of Illium Associates and T.F. Green International Airport Figure 3-44. Example of the same map rotated 180 degrees to maintain correct forward-facing orientation.
72 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities displays extend beyond directories to other key touch points. For example, in the baggage claim area, dynamic information can be used to educate customers about what is next in their wayfinding journey, such as access to next bus information displayed in real time (see Figure 3-45). 184.108.40.206 Walk versus Ride Decision Airport circulation consists of many destinations and the pathways that connect them. Con- necting passengers need to find their way from one gate to another (which may be in another concourse or terminal). The âwalk versus rideâ decision occurs when a passenger has a choice between walking the entire distance from one point to another (which can be a long way in some airports) or using some form of alternative transportationâusually a tram, shuttle, automated people mover, light-rail transit, or a similar form of transportation. Appropriately planned and designed digital wayfinding signage can indicate estimated times for the walk versus ride options to assist in the decision-making process. This can be included as part of the FIDS (see Figure 3-46) or part of a stand-alone display (see Figure 3-47). Older adults and people with disabilities are especially likely to utilize the ride option, if available, to assist in their navigation between points. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-45. Baggage claim display with real-time next bus information at Boston Logan International Airport. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-46. FIDS with walk or ride information at Detroit Metropolitan Airportâs McNamara Terminal.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 73 3.4.2 Dynamic Interactive Wayfinding Dynamic, interactive wayfinding allows users to select, drill down, and zoom to select their destination and get paths and directions. The interaction typically uses a touch-enabled display, although older systems may still have physical buttons, and even a mouse or trackball. For exam- ple, a touch-interactive display lets someone select an event or query a departmental directory and then touch a âDirectionsâ icon, which in turn can display a routing map and/or step-by-step directions (see Figure 3-48). The maps and directions, similarly, can simply highlight âYou Are Hereâ and âHereâs the Destination You Specified,â or, like the GPS application or device used in a car, provide point-to-point directional path drawings and step-by-step directions. 220.127.116.11 Information Display Systems Information display systems (IDSs), according to the research conducted for ACRP Research Report 161, are the third-most important factor in the airport experience (Landrum & Brown, Inc. 2016). IDSs use technologies such as liquid crystal display (LCD), LED, and projection to display content such as digital images, streaming media, and text information. Various hard- ware and software options exist, providing a range of different ways to schedule and play back content. FIDSs, GIDSs, and BIDSs are at the heart of every airport, providing vital information to passengers, visitors, airport operators, and other consumers across the terminal and at other locations (see Figure 3-49). IDSs also provide visual paging for persons with hearing loss and support the display of weather, promotional, and advertising information. Although ADA Standards do not yet specifically address digital signage, providing access to users with disabilities is not just a good idea, itâs becoming the law. These guidelines will help all users: â¢ Ensure that text is easily visible at a reasonable distance from the sign. â¢ Use text colors that have high contrast with the background color. â¢ Avoid dark backgrounds with neon colors and white characters. â¢ Keep font sizes large, especially for main messages. To test size, create a test screen with lines of different font sizes and have people view the screen at the farthest practical distance. â¢ Use sans-serif fonts. Serif fonts work well for long text passages in reading material, but for digital signs sans-serif fonts are preferred. Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-47. Dynamic display on how to connect from one terminal to another at Boston Logan International Airport.
74 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities Source: Omnivex Figure 3-48. Interactive directory at San Francisco International Airport. Source: COM-NET a SITA Company Figure 3-49. Flight information displays at Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 75 Remember, too, that passersby may also view the screen. The exception to this would be for screens meant for interaction, where the user is standing directly in front of the sign. But in this case as well, the needs of viewers with older eyes or low vision should be kept in mind. 18.104.22.168 Interactive Kiosks An airport kiosk provides information, goods, or services. In many airports, individuals can purchase tickets, check baggage, and monitor the status of arriving and departing flights at either a specific airlineâs computerized kiosks or at CUSS kiosks shared by multiple airlines (see Figure 3-50). Airlines increasingly rely on kiosks to ease congestion and prevent long lines at check-in counters. Self-service kiosks are some of the most widely adopted and well-proven applications for interactive kiosks. As part of the U.S. DOTâs effort to ensure equal access to air transportation for all travelers, it is requiring that automated airport kiosks be accessible to passengers with disabilities. Under the new rule, automated kiosks installed at U.S. airports for services such as printing boarding passes and baggage tags must be accessible to passengers with disabilities until at least 25 percent of all kiosks at each airport location are accessible (14 CFR Part 382.57). The CUSS kiosk shown in Figure 3-50 includes a document scanner, Trace EZ Access keypad, Braille markers, and a headphone jack so that customers who are blind can access audio instructions. It is designed for use from a seated and standing position. See Figure 3-51 for an illustration of the common components of an ADA-compliant interactive kiosk. 22.214.171.124 Virtual Concierge A virtual concierge is a form of interactive touch-screen display that can provide a mul- titude of information services (including interaction with a real person such as a CSA at an off-site location) through the use of video conferencing technology and can acknowledge and respond to user requests. Some of the services that can be accessed from a virtual concierge include the following: â¢ Flight check-in and boarding pass printing â¢ Flight arrivals and departures information â¢ Weather forecasts Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-50. CUSS check-in kiosk at San Francisco International Airport.
76 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities â¢ Wayfinding maps â¢ On-site amenities â¢ Restaurant reservations â¢ Hotel reservations â¢ Rental car reservations â¢ Daily event schedules â¢ Local areas of interest (restaurants, events, and attractions) Virtual concierges are becoming more common in airport facilities and can be a positive addi- tion to the wayfinding experience. As with other interactive technologies, virtual concierges can be designed with accessibility features and ways of accessing information that benefit those with disabilities. Munich Airport has implemented an innovative approach for providing information services at key locations other than the departures hall where departing passengers may need assistance. The InfoGate counter allows for interaction between customers and customer service person- nel via life-size video conferencing, as shown in Figure 3-52. These are placed in areas with high volumes of customer traffic that departing customers regularly pass through before they reach the departures hall. 3.4.3 Auditory Systems Auditory announcement systems traditionally convey audio voice messages or audible alerts to loudspeaker systems in a certain area. Understanding these messages may be difficult for persons with hearing problems and also for many other persons when the system is inadequate Source: Section 508 of the U.S. Government Rehabilitation Act Figure 3-51. Common components of an ADA-compliant interactive kiosk.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 77 due to the presence of competing background noise, poor environmental acoustics, poor system performance, or other factors. The ADA Standards require local and state government entities, such as airports operated by the local government, to provide auxiliary aids to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. To achieve equal access in airports, the most important auxiliary aids for persons with hearing loss will be videotext displays or assistive listening systems. The ACAA does not require airlines to provide a visual display of their audio messages. Instead, 14 CFR Part 382 specifies simply that airlines âmust ensure that passengers with a disability, who identify themselves as persons needing visual or hearing assistance, have prompt access to the same information provided to other passengers at each gate, ticketing area and customer service desk that they own, lease or controlâ (382.53). Nonetheless, a growing number of airlines are now installing GIDSs that provide real-time information that matches verbal announcements made by gate personnel, such as which rows are currently boarding. One solution for helping passengers who are hard of hearing to gain access to public announce- ments is installation of hearing loops. A hearing loop is a wire (induction loop) that circles a room or a smaller area with the ends of the wire connected to a special audio amplifier (see Figure 3-53). The wire is installed under the floor or carpet or in the ceiling. The amplifier can Source: InfoGate Figure 3-52. InfoGate counter at Munich Airport, Terminal 2. Source: www.c-tek.uk Figure 3-53. Typical hearing loop system.
78 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities be connected to a microphone or any sound system that is to be heard in the area defined by the loop wire. The audio signal traveling through the wire creates an electromagnetic field around the wire. This magnetic field can be âheardâ inside of the loop with any hearing aid set to the âTâ (telephone) position or other loop listener such as a cochlear implant. Other room sounds and echoes are virtually eliminated due to the direct wireless connection, and sound clarity and speech intelligibility are greatly improved. 126.96.36.199 Public Address A public address system (PA system) is an electronic sound amplification and distribution sys- tem with a microphone, amplifier, and loudspeakers, used to allow a person to address an audi- ence in a large public space. Per the ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities (ADA Standards Section 810.7), terminal information systems that broadcast information to the general public through a PA system must provide the same or equivalent information to persons with a hearing loss, or who are deaf, in a visual format. In airport environments, it is fairly common for the PA system to have visual paging capabilities so that voice announcements can be converted to text and displayed on information display monitors (see Section 188.8.131.52) to allow those with hear- ing impairments access to the announcement information. Hearing loops, an assistive listening technology more common in Europe than the United States, greatly improve the audibility of PA announcements for passengers using hearing aids (see description in Section 3.4.3). Large, open spaces in airports often include many hard surfaces. Therefore, a key architectural consideration is the design of PA system acoustics to mitigate or compensate for acoustically active spaces. 184.108.40.206 Emergency Notification An emergency notification system is a method of facilitating the one-way dissemination or broadcast of messages to one or many groups of people, alerting them to a pending or existing emergency. There are established guidelines and policies for making emergency notifications accessible to people with disabilities (mobility, visual, hearing, and cognitive). The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities was developed in response to the emphasis that has been placed on the need to properly address the emergency procedure needs of the disability community (2016). This guide addresses the needs, criteria, and minimum information necessary to integrate the proper planning components for the disabled community into a comprehensive evacuation planning strategy. The guide includes government resources and text based on the relevant code requirements, and ADA criteria. 220.127.116.11 Mass Notification The term âmass notification systemâ (MNS) refers to a system that manages peopleâs actions during and after an emergency. These systems are designed to provide information and instruc- tions to people in a building, facility, campus, or larger geographic area using intelligible voice communications, visible signaling, and textual and graphical information. (Figure 3-54 shows a diagram of an airport MNS.) These systems can be used to send alerts and notifications system- wide or to specific zones or coverage areas, as required by the event or events taking place to inform those in the affected area. Events that would utilize these systems include fire, terrorist attack, biological and hazardous chemical release, weather or other acts of nature, or any other event requiring control of the movement of a large group of people. The PA system is normally used for the audio component, while the fire alarm system will be used as the visual signaling component. The ADA Standards specify that emergency prepared- ness and response programs be accessible to people with disabilities, including emergency mass
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 79 notification and access to information. Modern MNSs meet accessibility requirements by send- ing out a given message in multiple formats at the same time: SMS text, email, social media, web, recorded voice messages, or text to speech, etc. (Reference http://www.omnilert.com/mass- notification-systems/). They can also integrate existing emergency investments, such as beacons, digital signs, loudspeakers, fire alarms and PA systems. 18.104.22.168 Visual Paging Visual paging systems, widely used at U.S. airports, reproduce content of voice pages in a text format and are displayed on the information display system monitors. While visual paging benefits all customers, it is particularly important to customers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Visual paging displays can be located anywhere in the airport where there is a need or desire to relay information in a visual format. The trend at many U.S. airports is to dedicate one screen of each FIDS to visual pages. Such messages may also scroll at the bottom of TV monitors in holding rooms. Visual pages can also be displayed on the airport website, as at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, and on airport applications. It is also important to enable cus- tomers with hearing or speech disabilities to send a page, whether through an interactive visual paging kiosk, as at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (see Figure 3-55), or by email or text to the airport call center. Visual paging displays can show these and other types of messages: â¢ Security checkpoint instructions â¢ Terminal-wide informational messages â¢ Courtesy announcements â¢ Final call messages â¢ Emergency messages â¢ Advertisement media â¢ Public service messages Source: Airport Consultants Council Figure 3-54. Typical integrated airport MNS diagram.
80 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities 22.214.171.124 Automated Boarding Automated boarding announcements are generated by integrated voice/visual paging and a FIDS (see Figure 3-56). This information can be directed to the specific zone of the associated gate or on as many screens as necessary. 126.96.36.199 Audio Messaging Some systems have been developed to assist people who are print-disabled, are blind, or have other visual impairments to navigate the environment with less dependence on others. Audio messaging systems utilizing remote infrared audible signage (RIAS) provide a repeat- ing, directionally selective voice message, which originates at the sign and is transmitted by infrared light to a hand-held receiver some distance away. The directional selectivity is a characteristic of the infrared message beam. The intensity and clarity of the message increases as the sign is âpointed atâ or approached. This ensures that the people using the Talking SignsÂ® system can choose to get feedback about their relative location to the goal as they move toward it. RIAS assists people who are print-disabled, blind, or have other visual limitations to navi- gate the environment with less dependence on others. The Step-Hear Ltd. website (www. step-hear.com) provides additional technical information and video on how RIAS works. Note that this type of system is being superseded technologically by mobile applications using indoor geolocation, but there may be facilities where RIAS is still an appropriate accommodation. 3.4.4 Mobile Applications Mobile applications are software applications that run on mobile devices and tablets and have further revolutionized the way individuals use their smartphones and mobile devices. Source: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Figure 3-55. Paging assistance location at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 81 Applications can be downloaded to the userâs smartphone or tablet PC to provide a particular service or allow the user to interact with their device in a specific way. âWayfindingâ applications are part of a growing trend among airlines and airports to use smartphones along with other technologies to make the airport experience smoother and less stressful. The two most predominant technologies utilized along with mobile devices to aid in indoor wayfinding are Wi-Fi and Beacon Localization. Regardless of which technology is used, airport and airline applications should be fully accessible for smartphone users who use VoiceOver, most notably those with vision loss. For additional information on mobile applications, reference Chapter 8. 188.8.131.52 Wi-Fi Localization Wi-Fi localization is one approach to providing accurate mobile application wayfinding. As evidenced in the prototype mobile application studied as part of the research for this report, accurate user location data are required to guide users of all disabilities and particularly those with low vision or who are totally blind. Wi-Finding, or localization via Wi-Fi, requires, at a minimum, two devices: (1) a Wi-Fi access point and (2) a user with a Wi-Fi-enabled device. The accuracy of localization using strictly Wi-Fi access points is based on two factors: (1) the number of access points a device can see from a given location and (2) the frequency at which a userâs device searches for Wi-Fi when not connected to a Wi-Fi system with a device or via the deviceâs application. In order to accurately determine a deviceâs position, the device must be vis- ible to three Wi-Fi access points. This allows the location-determining algorithm to determine an X, Y, and Z location point on a map based on the signal strength from three points. Source: Frankfurt Airport Figure 3-56. Visual paging/automated boarding.
82 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities In the case where a single access point is available, the location can only be determined in a radius based on signal strength. When only two access points are available, the location can be determined in the intersection of two radii. Only when three access points are available (see Figure 3-57) can the convergence of three radii be used to determine an exact location. When a user is attempting to use features or applications that require a high accuracy of localization, for example, a user with low vision or blindness, the minimal levels of acceptable location error cannot be achieved by accessing fewer than three access points. Research has demonstrated that airport Wi-Fi networks rarely have enough access points deployed for devices to recognize three or more points at any given location in the airport, as it is not feasible or necessary for the primary function of the Wi-Fi network, which is to provide airport users with connectivity to the Internet. The benefits of Wi-Fi localization are the following: â¢ It can leverage existing airport Wi-Fi access points. â¢ Existing access points typically gather information to allow localization services by applica- tions without additional cost or integration. â¢ Wi-Fi access points can serve dual roles, allowing access to Internet services and providing device location data. The limitations of Wi-Fi localization are that â¢ It requires a high number of access points for accurate location services. â¢ The triangulation process may be too slow for effective use given typical Internet speeds avail- able in airports. 184.108.40.206 Beacon Localization Public areas are introducing beacons to buildings (see Figure 3-58) as a way to bring indoor mapping and real-time interactive navigation to the mainstream. The beacons, which run on Bluetooth technology and cost about $20 each (if battery operated) to install, sync with a smart- phone application that pushes information to users as they walk by locations where beacons are installed. A beacon-based application uses voice technology to tell users to make a left or right turn or highlights key points as users walk by, bringing attention to everything from gates and restaurants to power outlets, ATMs, and restrooms. This type of mobile application aims to help travelers, including those with vision loss, get from the curbside drop-off area all the way to their gates. Source: Apple Figure 3-57. Wi-Fi localization.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 83 One limitation of beacon-based systems is that when there are walls, vegetation, furniture, or other items in the vicinity, the radio signal will be affected by reflection, absorptions, and other factors. As a result, inaccuracy can be twice the radius of the circle around the beacon, which can be up to 50 to 100 meters. To provide adequate coverage, an airport may need hundreds, if not thousands, of beacons. Filling all the gaps requires intensive, iterative geo-analysis. The benefits of beacon localization are the following: â¢ Beacons are relatively inexpensive and easy to install (battery operated). â¢ Beacons have multiple power options giving flexibility in the range of accuracy. â¢ Beacons are available as hardwired for power, requiring no changes in battery. The limitations of beacon localization are the following: â¢ It requires a high number of beacons for accurate location services. â¢ Beacons do not gather data/information. â¢ Locating and maintaining failed devices is time consuming. 3.5 Tactile The 2010 ADA Standards include specific tactile requirements for signage, both Braille and raised print. North American airports are typically lacking in other types of tactile information that can aid those with vision loss to find their way independently. For example, there is no requirement in the ADA Standards for directional signage to be tactile. TGSIs have only limited usage in the United States, typically in the form of truncated domes to alert passengers to areas of danger such as crosswalks and platform edges. In European airports such as Munich Airport, TGSIs, more commonly known as âguiding tiles,â guide customers to the information desk where they can request assistance and help them to find the accessible ticket counter or continue on to the security checkpoint area (see Figure 3-59). Tactile routes can also lead to key points of interest including vertical transitions in the customer journey such as elevators. In French SNCF rail stations, TGSIs are used in conjunction with Talking Signs. Use of âguiding tilesâ is also a common practice in Asian airports. Other uses of tactile information can be less obvious. For instance, clear delineation between a hard surface floor in the main concourse and a soft, carpeted surface in a hold-room seating area creates a shoreline that can provide a detectable, navigable path. A similar concept can also be applied to the boarding gate area. For those with low vision, contrasting light and dark colors Source: Apple Figure 3-58. iBeacon graphic.
84 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities provide an additional cue (see Figure 3-60). Contrasting color and texture can also be used to delineate a path across a large, open space or alert customers that they are approaching a set of stairs, an escalator, or a moving walkway. In the latter instance, such cues improve safety for all customers, including those with vision and cognitive disabilities (see Section 2.2, Universal Design Principle 5). Visual and tactile signage is required for all permanent rooms and spaces, e.g., restrooms, placed at the height and location specified under the ADA Standards. Other tactile signage Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-59. Tactile routes leading to the information desk, elevator, and accessible ticket counter at Munich Airport. Source: Â© Chris Cunningham, Courtesy of Gresham, Smith and Partners Figure 3-60. Detectable floor edges in the gate area at Atlantaâs Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 85 requirements include elevator controls and signs, exit doors (including exit passageways, dis- charge, and stairways) and emergency two-way communication systems. An airport may choose to install additional tactile signage that is necessary to the wayfinding experience of travelers with vision loss (see Figure 3-61). It is important to have the Braille on signs proofread by a person who can read Braille. 3.6 Wayfinding and Services Gap Analysis As noted previously, applying the three Vs of communication to each journey segment will help airports identify information gaps that can result when information is presented in only one mode. Applying the three Vs of communication to wayfinding involves the same informa- tion being presented and accessed in different ways because people with and without disabilities process information differently. For example, when visual signage might be insufficient for a passenger, verbal wayfinding can fill in the gaps. When virtual information isnât enough for a passenger, architectural cues can help guide the passenger. However, applying the three Vs of communication to providing wayfinding information can be a major challenge for an airport. This is because personnel responsible for man- aging different types of information often work in different departments. Consequently, buy-in from an airportâs senior management is an essential step to developing intra- departmental coordination that achieves the optimum level of consistency across all forms of communication. There are âreactiveâ and âproactiveâ approaches to analyzing wayfinding problems. Regard- less of the method used, the analysis should result in a recommended plan of action for improv- ing an airportâs wayfinding system. Note that U.S. airports are required by the ADA Standards (28 CFR Â§ 35.105) and Section 504 [49 CFR Â§ 27.11(c)(2)] to conduct self-evaluations and to take Source: ACRP Project 07-13 Research Team Figure 3-61. Tactile and Braille sign at Philadelphia International Airport.
86 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities appropriate remedial action. Additional information on this requirement is available from the FAA Office of Civil RightsâAirport Disability Compliance Program. 3.6.1 Reactive Approach A reactive approach is typically inspired by customer complaints. A key step in analyzing a customer complaint regarding wayfinding is to determine the true nature of the problem. Often, the assumption is that the problem is with the signage, but this is not always the case, as in the following example: An airport employee works on the third level of one of several terminals. Ground transportation services operate on Levels 1 and 2 of the roadway (there is no Level 3 roadway). The employee keeps running into passengers near his/her office on the third level who are looking for a particular shared-ride van company. Curious as to why this was happening, the employee checks with one of the passengers, who mentions that the reservation clerk directed him to the âupper level.â Terminal A has only two terminal levels, and the clerkâs instruction to go to the âupper levelâ would be correct there, but not in Terminal B, which has three levels. In this instance, the problem was a verbal communication issue rather than a signing issue. The key point here is the importance of taking the time to track down the source of the prob- lem in order to determine its true nature. Without this type of effort, the temptation is to try and solve the perceived wayfinding problem by adding more signs. In truth, adding more signs in an attempt to fix the problem rarely solves anything, and in most cases makes the problem worse by creating visual clutter and information overload. These types of solutions only serve to undermine the clarity that a well-planned wayfinding system should provide. When investigating a comment where the problem is the signs, the airport should first seek to understand the circumstances under which the problem occurred. Consider where the person was, where they wanted to go, the time of day, and what their actions were at that time (Were they talking on the phone? Were they walking and talking with others?). Next, investigate the site and assess the environment. Are there potential distractions around the signs such as floor objects or advertising that competes for attention? Is there insufficient lighting? Also, check to see if there were other passengers who had a similar problem by asking people who work in the area. Observation is also an excellent tool in assessing a problem. Simply observe the problem area for an extended period of time, and when a customer appears confused, ask them why. Doing this can provide valuable insight into how people navigate through the space. Finally, review the signing in the area and take note of any factors that may have led to the customerâs complaint. 3.6.2 Proactive Approach A proactive approach is based on evaluating the current wayfinding system. Physically walk each journey segment evaluating what information is needed (visual, verbal, or virtual) from the point of view of an older adult and a person with vision loss, hearing loss, cognitive disability, or reduced mobility. Walking each wayfinding segment with these perspectives in mind will help reveal the diverse communication needs of aging travelers and persons with disabilities, and how often backup is required, i.e., more than one mode of communication to meet the needs of customers who may be sighted and customers who may be blind. In addition to an airport staff review, contact local community disability advocates to have persons with each specific disability visit the airport to participate in a proactive evaluation of each journey segment. Consulting disability organizations is specifically mandated under the ADA Standards and Section 504 (See FAA Advisory Circular 150/5360-14A, Section 2.2.4 Self Evaluations). If the airport has a disability advisory committee, its members will often help.
Wayfinding Strategies via Visual, Verbal, and Virtual Communication 87 This report provides tools designed to help an airport conduct a Wayfinding and Services Gap Analysis, including a Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist and virtual airport models with illustrated narratives of each journey segment (see Appendices A and C). There are details on how to use these tools to apply the different forms of communication covered in each of the subsequent journey segment chapters for arriving, departing, and connecting customers. A brief overview of several ways of communicating information is listed below. 3.6.3 Other Important Considerations Wayfinding and the ways in which information is communicated should be part of every planning effort associated with airport growth and expansion. The goal should be to strive for consistent application of the sign standards airport-wide. All too often, a new terminal will gen- erate a new look for the wayfinding system without considering the current wayfinding system in the existing airport area. The result conveys an inconsistent visual message to the customer. Whether it is part of an overall planning project or an effort to correct a problem, it is very important to take one final step and evaluate how the change affects the overall wayfinding and communication chain before implementing any new signage or other forms of communication. Frequently, a change will focus only on the extent of construction or too closely on a specific decision point without proper consideration of the impact on the wayfinding experience that leads into, through, and past the change(s) being considered. It is critical that all messaging remains consistent throughout the customerâs journey because you do not want to inadvertently create a new problem while trying to fix the original one. 3.7 Summary Airport wayfinding information can be â¢ Visual â Directories. â Informational signage. â Flooring. â Landmarks. â Lighting. â Wayfinding signage. â¢ Verbal â Auditory cues at key transition points like entry and exit vestibules, elevators, etc. â Auditory instructions from mobile applications. â Emergency notification. â Mass notification. â PA systems with improved sound quality throughout all areas of the terminal. â Hearing loops. â Talking signs or signals. â Verbal person-to-person communication that is consistent with all other forms of com- munication, e.g., signage reads: âTrain to . . .â and person says: âTake the automated people mover to . . .â â¢ Virtual â BIDSs. â FIDSs. â GIDSs. â Interactive directories and kiosks.
88 enhancing airport Wayfinding for aging travelers and persons with Disabilities â Mobile applications. â Virtual concierge. â Visual paging/automated boarding. â¢ Tactile â Tactile pathways leading from primary origination points to key destinations, e.g., from the terminal entrance to an information booth, accessible ticket counter, elevators, etc. (Not applicable for North American airports). â Tactile and Braille signs for permanent room identification, elevators, and key touch points such as floor-level directories for the interior and exterior of elevator cabs. â Tactile markings at all transition areas, such as stairs and escalators. In summary, an important takeaway from this chapter is that applying a holistic approach so the three Vs of communication can work in tandem is critical to establishing a successful wayfinding system that communicates information consistently in all forms. Using this strategy enables airports to reach the greatest percentage of their customer base, including aging travelers and persons with disabilities, and helps these passengers reach their goal of traveling independently.