Prague City Hall introduces new wayfinding system
As of this summer, Prague residents as well as tourists should find it easier to navigate their way around the city. Earlier this week, Prague city councillors presented a brand-new orientation system that will be launched in a pilot mode both in public transport and in the streets.
At the moment, Prague’s city sign system is overseen by eight different entities, which makes it difficult for people, especially tourists, to find their way around. Different systems are used for the metro, buses and trams and information signs in the streets also vary from district to district.
To make it easier for people to move around the city, Prague councillors have now introduced a new, uniform and user-friendly orientation system, called Legible Prague.
The system was conceived by a Czech team consisting from the graphic studio Side2, architectural studio A69 and typographic studio Superior Type, who were selected in an international competition organised by the city’s transport planning organisation Ropid last year.
Their new wayfinding system is based on simplicity, using sans letterform on a dark, mostly black background. While drawing on the current system made in the 1970s and 80s, it is updated with modern technology, graphics and design.
Ropid’s director Petr Tomčík outlines what it will involve:
“Navigation boards, information panels highlighting the most important information, departure panels, real-time information about when the transport will leave, in how many minutes exactly.”
For the first phase of testing, the city’s transport planning organisation selected two metro stations:
“We are considering the stations of Háje and Palmovka, and then Holešovice, which are interconnected with rail transport. We also planning to carry out public surveys. The system is not yet finalised, because we want to adapt it to individual needs.”
The new system will also put more emphasis on pedestrian routes and the movement of people in the city. That’s why some new elements are due to appear in the streets, says Tomáš Machek, director of the winning Side2 graphic studio:
“There should be up to 800 obelisks, with large-scale maps installed in the streets of Prague. There will also be pedestrian signposts that will navigate people to local destinations. The last element is a totem, which will signal the metro stations.”
The city will start testing the pedestrian information system from the summer, says Adam Scheinherr, deputy for transport from the group Praha Sobě.
“There will be a marked walking route from the Old Town Square across Letná Square to the Exhibition Grounds, where there will be a pedestrian navigation system.
“There will also be a navigation system in the vicinity of the Holešovice railway station, directing people to the bus stop, the metro station and to the railway station.”
Based on the feedback from Prague residents, the city will then prepare the final form of the new urban navigation system. Starting next year, it will start installing the elements in the city’s streets and public transport.