Public transport and dementia

Long view of a Singapore bus interchange showing the different coloured directional arrows on the floor. Public transport and dementia.

Noise, lights, crowds: public transport for people with dementia becomes increasingly challenging.

It’s common for people with dementia to become less confident when using public transport. The noise, the lights, and the crowds are distractions causing a lack of orientation. Dementia Singapore decided to find a way to help orientate and guide people through busy stations and interchanges and devised the “Find Your Way” initiative.

A large purple icon is attached to a column making it highly visible. The same icon is used from the beginning to the end of the route through the interchange.

Brightly coloured icons guide travellers in the right direction.

Dementia Singapore set up a working group of local dementia advocates and the major public bus operator, SBS Transit.

Working group

The aim of the Find Your Way initiative is to help people with dementia use public transport independently. The working group consisted of local dementia advocates, two members of Dementia Alliance International, and a major bus operator.

The technical advice focused on designs that are intuitive and easy to understand. Emily Ong’s short article has more on the technical group, the Environmental Design Special Interest Group (ED-SiC) that worked on the project.

Singapore already has Dementia-Go-To-Points where members of the public can take people who are lost at train stations and bus interchanges. However, this does not aid independence.

Floor plan showing the colour zoning and interchange layout

The Find Your Way project uses colour coding for district zones. The colour makes it easier to perceive the space and find information in a busy complex environment.

The incorporation of a childhood game is part of providing information in multiple formats. Large directional arrow markings on the floor also aid people in orientating themselves and finding their way. The photographs show how colour and icons are used.

Staff of SBS Transit give the thumbs up to the directional arrows on the flooring.

SBS Transit staff give thumbs up to the wayfinding design at the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange.

The title of the short article is, Designing public transit systems for accessibility and inclusion of people with cognitive impairments. It’s a quick overview of the project by Emily Ong, Project Lead and Co-Chair of DAI ED-SiG.

You can find out more from Dementia Singapore website where there are more photos of the project. You can also connect with Emily Ong and join the international group working on this initiative.

A train station showing a poster for the Go To Point for people with dementia.

People living with dementia want to remain independent for as long as possible and that means being able to use public transport. Dementia Go-To- Points help.

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