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72192-1 Report Abstract

Route Guidance Information for Elderly Passengers: Route Naming Methods

Laura L. Higgins, with contributions by Rodger J. Koppa, James K. Hennigan, Charles S. Lessard, and Robert Q. Brackett, Texas A&M University System, November 1993, 54 pp.

The effect of bus route names on elderly transit riders’ route-finding performance was investigated. A survey of public transit companies indicated that most identify routes with names and numbers, plus color coding, and most route names correspond to the streets on which the routes travel or to the route destinations. A second survey of local riders indicated a preference for route names that include cardinal directions. Maps and timetables from a typical medium size bus system in Washington State were used in the experimental portion of the study. These materials were altered to include cardinal directions plus other changes suggested by the literature and participants used versions either with or without such directions. Thirty-two Bryan-College Station, Texas residents aged 55 or older were asked to plan three different trips using these materials. Very few participants used route names, but rather used route numbers and colors. Participants ranked route names as the last helpful route-finding tool, below color coding and route numbers. Problems encountered by participants indicate that color coding, map detail and the addition of map use examples and/or explicit instructions may be important issues for future investigations.

Keywords: Transit, Maps, Timetables, Route Guidance, Elderly, Bus

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Reference Report #72192-1