Legibility also reduces feelings of vulnerability caused by confusion or uncertainty in a new environment. Elements that influence legibility include sightlines to destinations, consistency of materials, finishes and furniture, use of lighting and supporting information such as signs, maps and announcements.

A legible interchange zone will result in quicker and less stressful transfer between modes, easier identification of landmarks, nodes, pathways and operational thresholds and minimise the need for additional infrastructure and signs to aid movement.

Does the interchange zone layout make wayfinding easy for everyone?

The layout of the interchange zone should provide for intuitive movement between public transport services, feeder modes and the surrounding urban context.

In new interchange facilities, this should form a fundamental element of interchange planning. For interchange zone upgrades, priority should be given to improvements that remove barriers to movement, improve circulation, meet predicted pedestrian desire lines, minimise conflicting flows and provide clear sight lines to destinations both within and immediately outside the interchange zone.

Natural desire lines should be supported whenever possible - attempting to force passengers into unnecessarily long or circuitous routes can lead to recommended routes being ignored in favour of ones which may endanger passengers or cause unnecessary pedestrian conflicts.

Does lighting help to define routes and highlight destinations?

Lighting can increase legibility, accessibility, security and ambience of an interchange zone. It helps to define paths between spaces without the need for additional infrastructure and highlight important features and destinations. Lighting from retail and other commercial outlets should not detract from these positive effects.

Lighting should be appropriate to the location and function. Illuminated routes should be evenly lit, avoiding sudden changes in lighting levels, glare, dark spots or pooling that could create confusion for visually impaired users. Use of natural light, particularly in underground environments, can improve the ambience of the space and create a natural beacon for wayfinding as well as reducing the energy consumption of the interchange.

Agreement should be reached with owners of retail or commercial spaces within interchange zones to retain low-level, energy efficient lighting when the premises are closed, to improve the feeling of security after dark. To minimise energy consumption, consideration should be given to the use of movement activated lighting in low use spaces.

A coordinated lighting strategy can minimise visual clutter, physical obstruction and light pollution across the interchange zone. Lighting can be mounted on buildings only after appropriate consent is granted or combined with other street furniture.

Do surfaces and materials have good visual and physical contrast?

The ability of all users to navigate their way safely around an interchange facility or zone can be improved by the use of colour and tonal contrasts. Large open spaces without any reference points can be especially intimidating for people with visual impairments to navigate.

Care should be taken to avoid glare that can be caused by windows positioned at the end of corridors or passageways. Using tinted glass, anti-glare treatment or blinds can help reduce this. Information screens can also be subject to glare problems, and care must be taken to position them away from direct sunlight, and incorporate anti-glare protection if necessary.

Have infrastructure and street furniture been rationalised?

Street furniture, seating, bins or other infrastructure should be rationalised and carefully placed to minimise obstruction and maximise use of the available space. Movement spaces should be kept free of unnecessary obstructions such as temporary signs, retail stalls, newspaper vendors and so on.

Ancillary equipment such as temporary air conditioning equipment, cash machines, and storage lockers should not be placed where they reduce capacity for movement, unless there is no alternative location available.

See Movement within an interchange facility and Movement within the wider interchange zone.

Case study examples