Been lost in London recently? You're not alone. A new survey from a phone company says London's pretty much the worst place to be in, if you don't know where you are.
Cities like Bangkok and Beijing, which are twice the size of London, are easier to navigate, the survey found. On top of that, Londoners are said to be likely to lie if asked for directions. (Really? Who does this? Answers below, please.)
Enter Legible London, TfL's new "pedestrian wayfinding scheme". Other descriptions call it a "new on-street mapping system."
Essentially, we're talking about signposts. Better signposts. Funky signposts. Signposts based on, ahem, "mental mapping":
We all build maps in our heads to navigate our way around, though the way we form these maps depends on a host of factors. The strength of our mental map often determines the confidence we have in walking to our destination... Any successful wayfinding system therefore needs to support people in developing their own mental maps
The three areas for the pilot scheme are South Bank and Bankside; Covent Garden and around Bloomsbury; and Richmond and Twickenham. And of course, this is all about making sure people know where the hell they are come 2012.
Some, English Heritage included, will inevitably say that there are already too many signs cluttering up our streets. Others may like the feeling of discovering new hidden gems while you don't know quite where you are in London. Then there's the question of what the signs themselves will look like. They won't look like Westminster's signs, that's for sure. Something more like the 2012 logo, anyone?
Image from silktwisteddagger on the Londonist flickrstream.