The NYC Department of Transportation will begin using “Wayfinding Maps” to encourage walking and shopping at businesses in the area. “Wayfinding Maps” help pedestrians orient themselves in their environment via spatial problem solving. Simply put, wayfinding maps are way cooler than ordinary maps and prevent people from getting lost. The DOT has just put out a sample map of Long Island City.
The sidewalk signage will show pedestrians where they are and which way they are facing — a study last year found that many New Yorkers couldn’t point to north when asked. Transit, local attractions, and businesses are placed on a large map of the local street grid with circles indicating where you can reach with a five minute walk, and how long it will take to get to other attractions. Like countdown clocks in subways, knowing the time and effort involved in a trip can make it more appealing. The signs, the DOT hopes, will encourage more walking.