Senior project manager Annemarie van den Bos explains why National Key Projects (NSPs) require a special approach.
Although these projects are larger than those we develop for regular stations, our working method is the same although the outcome is different. Mijksenaar bases the wayfinding scheme for all Dutch train stations – more than 400 in total – on the existing system, which allows the passenger to find his way easily. When he’s at an NSP station*, however, the signs he sees are not the same size as those he sees at a regular station.
Why is it necessary to customize the information sources a passenger sees at an NSP station?
We adapt the dimensions of the various sources of information to the extraordinary architecture of the station. Theoretically, we use standard sizes as our point of departure. For Utrecht CS for example, we opted for signs that are twice the size of standard signs, which means the surface area is four times larger than normal.
What is our role in the development of these stations?
We maintain direct contact with all the architects that are involved in the NSP projects: Benthem Crouwel Architects, Team CS, UN Studio and Architectenbureau Koen van Velsen. (In providing signage for standard stations, we often have contact only with the contractor.)
It’s a good thing we are involved during the initial stages of these projects. Early participation allows us to bring up the subject of visitor flows – how people move through these stations – at the outset of a project.
To what extent have we relied on our previous experience – in the work we’ve done for the NSPs?
Within the framework of the ‘Groei op het Spoor’ project, we studied over 80 stations. Our surveys included public transport operators, passenger organizations and inexperienced train passengers, the last of which contributed a great deal of very useful information.
The extensive on-site research we did at these stations provided us with an opportunity to adapt a number of rules to the current situation. It also gave us new insights. One result was a revision of our manual on wayfinding design.
We applied the information we gathered during the ‘Growth of the Railway’ project to the NSPs.
Is temporary signage in use at these stations?
Signage on panels and hoarding used as protection around a construction site is part of the ‘Station concept In Temporary Situations’ (SITS) system. This is a design concept for train stations in temporary situations. It provides safety, familiarity and comfort to travelers during renovations.
Theoretically, temporary signage is always ‘permanent’, certainly in the case of the one-off visitor. For this reason, temporary signs look exactly like permanent signs. We do not provide temporary signage for short-term use with lighting. Permanent signs, however, always have built-in lighting to make them more noticeable.
*Rotterdam CS, The Hague CS, Utrecht CS, Amsterdam Zuidas, Arnhem and Breda
This Q&A first appeared in our newsletter Flows nr. 2, 2014
Photo Copyright: Bus platform and adjacent entrance (image: UNStudio / MOKA)