Mind The Graphics

First Mike Figgis was enlisted to improve behaviour on the buses, now Transport For London has turned to graphic design in an attempt to make it easier to get on and off crowded tubes.

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First Mike Figgis was enlisted to improve behaviour on the buses, now Transport For London has turned to graphic design in an attempt to make it easier to get on and off crowded tubes.

From 14 February, London Underground is to trial various graphic devices on the Jubilee Line. The markings are designed to encourage those waiting on platforms to let passengers off the train before getting on themselves. There are four different styles, each style to be tested at at least two locations from the following list of stations: Canada Water, Canary Wharf, Green Park, Kilburn, London Bridge, Swiss Cottage, St John’s Wood, Waterloo, West Hampstead and Westminster.

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The graphics seem to be split roughly into two camps. The first (shown below) references the box junction road-marking which seems apt, if reliant on public transport passengers knowing their highway code. Drivers approaching box junctions, if I remember my theory test correctly, are supposed to wait until their exit route is clear before going into the area bounded by the yellow lines, so by placing one of these by the doors of the train, impatient would-be passengers will be encouraged to wait until the doorway is clear before boarding.

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The other styles to be trialled use directional arrows more akin to the instructional graphics found on packaging (see below). Though graphically more interesting than the box, they are also a lot more complex and perhaps more difficult for passengers to grasp.

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According to LU, “The key objective [of the exercise is] to assess the influence of the markings on passenger behaviour and its impact on cutting delays.” So, can design make the Underground a better place? Which design do you think will work best?

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