This project was done as part of a short fellowship with the Maryland Transit Administration. The Chief of Engagement was interested in using social design to better include the needs of older transit users and users with disabilities in future MTA design initiatives. The project began with some cursory research and a transit audit with the IMAGE Center for People with Disabilities. The findings from those events helped to define several themes about how older individual and those with disabilities had different needs when it came to interacting with the existing transit environments. Anything that relates to height, reach, speed, distance, and line of sight are designed and oriented, almost exclusively, for typically able individuals.
The engagement team want to create a series of initial wayfinding pieces, design primarily for the needs of older individuals and people with disabilities. The idea was to
show several prototypes and then test the pieces with volunteers from the Image Center, in a slightly more controlled environment. The Charles Street Metro Station, in Baltimore, was selected as a theoretically test location, given its more enclosed area and having few examples of good wayfinding.
The computer mock-up were create to show how some signage might look, if they were prioritized for those with visual disabilities, those using mobility devices, or those simply no longer as young as they once were. The signs and directions cues were created to be significantly larger and more legible and suggested to be placed at a lower viewpoint, than is typical.
It is hoped that the pieces will eventually be produced on a more tactile material to provide additional hints, as to how to quickly navigate through the station. Plans for a testing and feedback workshop are currently in the works.