In collaboration with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)’s Planning department and wayfinding consultant Entro, McCormick Taylor conceptualized, designed, and developed an interactive system map and related media-rich web pages to introduce and collect public feedback on “SEPTA Metro,” a major wayfinding overhaul of the region’s existing rail system. SEPTA Metro will unite and rebrand several lines under a single moniker with the aim of improving and simplifying the rider experience. Adoption of the Metro brand will significantly alter the naming, colors, typography, iconography, signage, and maps associated with several of the region’s most historic and frequently ridden lines. The custom digital products that McCormick Taylor developed for the initiative’s public commenting period helped SEPTA engage a large and diverse audience, visualize complex concepts and research, and collect feedback on their vision for the future of transit in the region. While the feedback collection period is over, these products are still in use to help educate the public.
HOW WE HELPED
SEPTA’s mission is to develop a wayfinding strategy that makes the transit network more accessible and easier to navigate. One of the most important parts of the process was to engage riders and gain insight into the needs of the diverse communities that use the system.
McCormick Taylor held its first kick-off meeting for the fall 2021 wayfinding outreach project with SEPTA and Entro in July 2021. Weekly collaboration meetings were held via conference call to review the status of project tasks and provide feedback until the launch date on September 7, 2021. There was a 60-day comment period following the launch during which weekly reports of public comments were distributed to the project team.
McCormick Taylor’s approach to design and development gave SEPTA confidence that the interactive system map would be meaningful to the intended audiences and maintain a long shelf‐life for future updates. In addition, related web pages were created that explain the ideas developed for the wayfinding concepts and summarize previous outreach activities. The website encouraged the public to provide input on the recommendations via the interactive system map.
Within the first 24 hours of launch, the website received over 30,000 views reaching a final total of 53,000 over the 60-day public comment period. Promotion of the concepts generated considerable press coverage and public dialogue in the region and nationally among transit advocates and enthusiasts. The feedback from riders on the proposed wayfinding system allowed the project team to identify which aspects they got right and where further improvement was still needed. The insight gleaned from these comments is helping to shape the continued refinement of the SEPTA Metro concept.
2023 Diamond Award, ACEC/PA