Pedestrian wayfinding sign in Charlotte, North Carolina

Pedestrian-oriented maps and directional signs should enhance pedestrian circulation and sense of place. Maps usually show the pedestrians current location and the surrounding streets and destinations. Some cities estimate the radius for destinations within a 5 or 10 minute walk. Directional signs usually list one or more destinations along with an arrow, and maybe the estimated distance to the destination.

Some signage systems are planned, implemented, and maintained exclusively by city departments or transit agencies; others are the result of collaboration between a jurisdiction and a downtown business association.

Check out signage systems in these cities: Alexandria, VA; Charlotte, NC; Philadelphia; San Francisco, and New York City.


Wayfinding signs help pedestrians find or discover nearby destinations (e.g., stores, businesses, cultural resources, transit centers, parks, etc.). Communities that provide information about places to walk may enjoy higher rates of walking.


Wayfinding projects can be carried out at many levels; however, it is important that a system-wide approach be taken so that different signs, maps, information kiosks, etc. do not appear in different parts of a city, thereby confusing rather than enlightening users.


Costs vary widely depending on the scale of the wayfinding program.