Pedestrian Wayfinding Program

Project Overview

Seattle is a dynamic and rapidly changing city. The City is responding to a huge growth in residents, businesses and visitors by planning for future mobility, fostering vibrant street life and building great public spaces.  While many of these projects are large and complex, apparently small things can also make a big difference. One such idea is wayfinding.

City wayfinding projects in New York, London, and Vancouver, BC have helped people to understand the human scale of these cities and so encouraged them to walk further and more often. This simple idea can support bigger aims such as reducing traffic, connecting transit trips, spreading visitor spending, and increasing active health.

The City of Seattle has a long-term ambition to create its own wayfinding system and has recently secured funding to implement this idea. While wayfinding projects are not on the same scale as many other city investments, they touch a wide range of interests and responsibilities for how they should be planned, designed, funded, managed and maintained. This program also aims to replace the multiple existing legacy wayfinding systems on our streets with one coordinated and consistent system. These legacy systems fight for attention in the downtown area and do not provide consistent information to the walker.

Acknowledging these interests, the City commissioned a scoping study to inform a vision, objectives and outline work plan for a city wayfinding project. The resulting recommendations will inform a subsequent full-scale project that is intended to be procured in 2018.


The initial scoping of this project is complete. We are now preparing to hire a consultant team to start the next phase of the project.