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Accession Number PB2013-108821
Title Using Pictograms to Make Transit Easier to Navigate for Customers with Communication Barriers.
Publication Date Sep 2012
Media Count 99p
Personal Author D. Matherly J. Mobley
Abstract The concept that picture-based messages could be effective tools to communicate during an emergency with transit riders, especially those with communication barriers, arose as part of the work for the Transportation Research Board study TCRP A-33: Communication with Vulnerable Populations: A Transportation and Emergency Management Toolkit (TCRP Report 150). That study and the resulting toolkit targeted transportation and emergency managers with guidance and tools for reaching people who would need transportation in an emergency and whose functional needs make them especially vulnerable (e.g., physical, cognitive, sensory disabilities; low- or no-English proficiency; aged or very young; or combinations of these). Working on the toolkit, the research team began to consider tools that would be effective during an emergency to help drivers and others engaged with passengers to communicate with people who have communication barriers. Exploring the possibilities for pictograms led to a problem statement for follow-on work to TCRP A-33 and the pilot study described here. The scope of this study was small, intended to be a first inquiry into the potential for using pictograms as communication tools in emergencies. The visual iconography of the digital age has encouraged the global use of pictographs (information about objects or physical circumstances) and ideographs (information about concepts or behavior) and combinations of the two (e.g., a human figure on a step expresses Step Up or Step Down, or, by extension, Watch Your Step.). Many recent explorations of pictograms are available, especially related to graphic design, but discussions of transportation-related pictograms are almost entirely focused on wayfinding and locations. This study appears to be the first to explore whether transit riders in an emergency could and would respond to picture-based directions from a driver. The results of this study suggest the value of pictograms in emergency communications in buses and paratransit, and, indeed, the value for non-emergency circumstances, as well. Clearly, this study is just a first peek at the possibilities, with an enormous range of opportunities for further exploration.
Keywords Communications
Disabled persons
Graphic design
Management planning and control
Navigational aids
Public transportation
Transit riders
Visual aids

Source Agency National Academy of Science Transportation Research Board
NTIS Subject Category 91B - Transportation & Traffic Planning
91I - Emergency Services & Planning
43G - Transportation
85D - Transportation Safety
92C - Social Concerns
Corporate Author Berger (Louis) International, Inc., Washington, DC.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1319
Contract Number N/A

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