What is it? Wayfinding is term for making a community more accessible and welcoming for pedestrians. A project usually includes signs, and other interesting directional markers, aimed at walkers. The signs are distinctive and provide directions and walking times to popular destinations, and to sites of local cultural and historical significance. By including an estimated walking time, the signs help raise awareness of walking as a more viable option and also encourage pedestrian side-trips and visits to landmarks that might not otherwise be noticed. The signs and markers may also target bicyclists, but either way they encourage people to get out of their cars and more directly experience neighborhoods. In some cases, individuals and local neighborhood organizations have led the installation of signage. In all cases, it is advisable to work with public officials, and to be aware of policies and penalties concerning unsanctioned sign installation.
How has it been used? One example originated in Raleigh, North Carolina. An interested citizen designed and installed signs noting the number of minutes it would take a person to walk to a select number of specified destinations. The color of the signs were different, based upon the destination. For example, green signs were used to direct pedestrains to nearby parks or other open spaces. Each sign included a QR code which smartphone users can scan to find the specific path to these destinations. At one point the signs were removed by city officials, but had proved to be so helpful that broader citizen support led to their official reinstallation through a formal policy of the city council. (Source: Walk [Your City] – Kickstarter)