Underground movement and wayfinding

Station in Singapore showing complexity of design with escalators and shiny surfaces.
Underground train station

A complex underground interchange station is a good subject for studying wayfinding. Legibility of the environment is more than just signage. When going underground people are more likely to become disorientated. So underground movement and wayfinding is a special area of work.

In a short paper, the researchers from Singapore focus on different materials used to see what difference they make. They looked mainly at colour contrast and glare from lighting. Legibility of the environment helps people who cannot read signs as well as helping to quickly orientate people who can. The article looks to be a translation to English but the content is understandable.


Getting lost and disoriented due to the lack of legibility of the space are common problems found in underground stations. Wayfinding inside underground stations is often thought as being solely supported by the presence of signage and directory maps as the tools that help users to understand their orientation and route better. However, the influence of materials on wayfinding in underground stations is often overlooked. Hence this paper presents a comprehensive examination of literature studies and an analysis on Dhoby Ghaut Station in Singapore as case studies. This station serves three interchange MRT lines and complex routes, which renders wayfinding issues even more urgent.

The goal of this paper is to examine the potential of contrasting the material application for effective wayfinding inside the underground station. To identify aspects regarding the impact of selection and placement of materials applied (on floors, walls, and ceilings of underground stations), literature and case study are carried out. The results indicate that the materials used in underground station influences wayfinding in varying degrees.

The title of the paper isInfluence of material application to wayfinding issue in underground station design.  


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