Edmonton Transit Service

In Transit

What We Did

Environmental Design

The Client

Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) is responsible for making sure more than 80 million riders each year can safely get where they need to go. This involves managing hundreds of bus routes, dozens of transit centres, and two LRT lines with a total of 18 stops (soon to be even more).

The Project

Commuters often take a combination of personal vehicles and public transit, but transit hubs have limited parking. In Edmonton, commuters can buy monthly permits to get a guaranteed parking spot. The city needed to add more paid parking, so ETS was reworking the lots at the Clareview, Belvedere, Stadium, and Century Park transit centres.

Impark manages most of the lots in Edmonton and was already involved with the project. They recommended our strategy and design services to ETS, who in turn asked us to identify paid stalls and improve overall wayfinding at the four affected transit centres.


Clearly identify the two kinds of parking stalls and help visitors find their way through the parking lot to the depot.

Assessment + Reporting

We start every wayfinding project with research and strategy to make sure we’re considering every part of the existing system. During our assessment, we noticed a few problems with branding, positioning, and messaging. The lots weren’t ETS branded, and they were cluttered with too many signs that confused users.

We also noticed an issue with the phrase “paid parking,” which was the whole focus of the project. It suggested there was a way to pay for parking on site, which wasn’t the case. In fact, there was a long waiting list for monthly permits. We suggested calling it “permit parking” instead. This accurately suggested that drivers needed documentation in advance before they could park in the area.

System Design

Working with ETS’s brand guidelines, we used colour, messaging, pictographs, and sign placement to clearly identify the two distinct sections of each parking lot. The new designs used new dimensions, updated fonts, and consistent design elements to create a more unified system. Our wayfinding system included the following items.

  • Entrance signs identifying the station and directing users to free and permit parking
  • Secondary signage to point out specific areas in each lot
  • Private property signs and notices
  • Lot identification and directional signs
  • Lot section identification signs
  • Stall identification signs
  • Regulatory signs
  • Security and caution signs
  • Traffic signs
  • Special programs

The system we designed used a limited number of signs that worked with existing applications. This meant ETS could save on production costs by only replacing a small amount of signage. We also designed the system to have signs placed at different heights, which reduced visual clutter and made it so users only saw messages at relevant times.

When we started the project in 2016, the city had just approved the Pedestrian Wayfinding Design Standard. It was possible that ETS’s brand guidelines might one day morph in that direction, so we recommended implementing it now. That way they wouldn’t need to update their signage later if the PWDS became more widely adopted (which it did).

We also provided sign manufacturing and installation specifications so ETS could handle their own production, both now and in the future. Now their signage system always looks consistent and provides a better user experience and overall impression of the brand. ETS also has the option of applying this system at other transit locations.

The Results

ETS was more than happy with our work and felt it was “a great improvement.” After a short adjustment period, our work helped streamline a complicated process and improve the way people take transit in Edmonton.

Environmental Design
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