Redesign of Metro Manila bus stops, signages proposed to ease travel
A TEAM working for a traffic navigation application has explored a project on a redesign of bus stops and signages in Metro Manila to ease the “messy and multifaceted problem of commuting” in the bustling metropolis.
Philip Cheang, Inna Tan and Monica Esquivel of Sakay.ph app conducted studies and an experiment on a partial redesign of bus stops and signs to “make information more approachable” to commuters and motorists.
“We can help make routes more well-known, more clearly understood, and more easily accessible,” the group said in a piece posted on their site.
The group focused on bus routes along Edsa commonly referred to as the ABC system, which has three primary routes and own sets of stops.
“We’re focusing on this small subset of commuting for two reasons. One, we’re a small team, and don’t have the resources to redesign absolutely everything. Two, the ABC system is one of the most heavily used routes, running along the backbone of Metro Manila. As such, a redesign here stands to impact a large number of people, and can serve as a basis for other lines and systems (like the MRT, LRT, Pasig Ferry, bike lanes, and more) to follow,” the team said.
Starting off with visual hierarchy, the group said a signage across a particular transport mode should have a strong main color, “which makes each sign recognizable and distinct. For example, all MRT signs might be purple, all bike lanes might be orange, and so on.”
“In this case, we decided the buses should be predominantly blue, and that there would be sub-colors for the A, B, and C lines. The three colors are easy to spot and are very distinct from each other,” they said.
The experiment presented a signage fragmented across multiple panels, which contained information like what transport mode the stop belongs to, what lines stop there, and the direction of travel and the next stop.
“We have one large sign which shows a bus icon (this replaces the need for the words “bus stop”), the stop name, and whether the stop is north or southbound. Underneath the large main sign are smaller signs indicating the types of buses that are served by the stop and the next few stops of each. These smaller signs are modular so routes can easily be added, removed, or modified in the future,” the group said.
They also redesigned the stop information and route directory to make it more detailed and understandable by placing more relevant information.
“More importantly, the redesigned map also shows the bus routes in context. You can see which stops are near other major roads like Aurora Boulevard, Shaw Boulevard, and Buendia Avenue, and also get a feel for where the different cities and municipalities are in relation to the stops. Of course, it also highlights which stop you’re at,” said the team.
The researchers also proposed the creation of an area or locality map, something which cannot be found in existing bus stops, which provides more information about the area including places of interest that people can go to.
The team clarified that their experiment was not comprehensive due to some restraints, but noted that design was not about mere aesthetics but also solving problems and communicating properly.
“We’re quite happy with how this little side project turned out. This is an exploratory study we did for fun, and not an officially commissioned project by the MMDA, DOTC, LTFRB, or any other four-to-five letter acronym. There were no real-world constraints imposed on the design, so there are likely many factors we are overlooking,” the group said.
“This was an interesting exercise in designing outside the screen. Most of our work deals with design for interfaces, interaction, and data visualization on computers and phones, so this was a nice change of pace. The project also served as an illustration of how big problems can be tackled from a variety of angles. If we really want change, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the media or contexts that we’re most familiar with,” they added.
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