How Guidance Signage Design Influences Passengers’ Wayfinding Performance in Metro Stations: Case Study of a Virtual Reality Experiment

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - subway/metro, infrastructure - station, planning - signage/information, ridership - perceptions


Guidance signs, Passengers' wayfinding, Metro stations


Well-designed guidance signage plays a significant role in the metro environment, ensuring that passengers can reach their destination quickly without anxiety and stress. At present, most metro stations in China use vertical guidance signage (hanging on the walls), which can easily cause misunderstandings in conveying information. Horizontal guidance signage (horizontally attached to the ground) with visual continuity has not yet been used. To explore the influence of different signage designs (vertical, horizontal, and mixed) on passengers’ wayfinding performance, this research utilized virtual reality (VR) technology to develop a VR environment based on a metro station in Nanjing, China. Thirty-six volunteers were randomly divided into six groups based on two variables (guidance signage design and density of passengers), and participated in the wayfinding experiment. During the experiment, three types of wayfinding performance measurements were collected and analyzed (subjective: the difference in the pressure of the wayfinding environment on the participants; objective: participants’ average speed, number of pauses, and the selection of infrastructure; systematic: ratings of affordance indicators). The results revealed that the mixed (vertical + horizontal) signage performed best, and different guidance signage designs affect passengers’ perception of environmental pressure, decision-making on the use of public infrastructures (stairs), and the number of pauses.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SAGE, copyright remains with them.