The Government has launched a £200m fund to help Local Authorities make improvements and upgrade pedestrian and cycle routes and paths. Clearly creating safe and attractive routes is critical if we’re to be persuaded to ditch cars in favour of cycling and walking. Importantly, we also need to know where these car free, safe or green route options are and where they can get us to.
A few weeks ago I set off from home in West London on a 25km circular walk. Following paths and trails, flanked by trees, waterways and open spaces. With London’s reputation as one of the world’s most congested cities – I find that amazing.
A key sustainability challenge for anyone involved in commissioning, designing or manufacturing wayfinding signs, is to think well beyond day one. To future -proof and lengthen the operational life of the information, by really exploring what the likely requirements will be in 2, 5 or 10 years’ time and factoring these into the design. All the while recognising that at some point, the scheme will have outlived its useful life and designing sign forms so that component materials can be easily recovered to be recycled or repurposed.
When specifying a new wayfinding system, it’s important to factor in the ongoing maintenance costs. Beyond ensuring the physical infrastructure is safe and kept in good order, you need to think about how frequently the information may need updating; the extent of likely changes; how critical the response time will be and budget. Feeding these into the design process will help ensure that the scheme is affordable over the long-term.
When it comes to sustainable wayfinding design – material selection and dematerialisation strategies are an obvious focus. However, to ensure that the end result is fit for purpose, future proofed and contributes positively to the overall aesthetic and enjoyment of a place, the most important factors are the underpinning strategy and design.