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Mandar Rane
Associate Professor

Industrial Design Centre
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
W: 022- 25767839
H: 022- 25768839

bus signage

Interview with Mustafa Saifee - Student Electircal Engineering, IIT Bombay
Hi, where are you from and have you ever travelled in the Mumbai buses? Any problems or observations you can recollect about your travel? I am from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. While travelling in Mumbai buses the main problem is that it is difficult to find out from the numbers, which bus goes to my destination. Sometimes the name of the places have an additional name, whihc is confuising. For example Agarkar chowk, is Andheri station. For a new person to the city this is very confusing. The other issue that I face is the language as I’m not very familiar with the Hindi numerals.

Being a student of electrical engineering at IIT Bombay, How come you are interested in visual communication? I was always interested to find how do we react/ communicate to a visual space. Also I find it interesting how subtle changes in colour, proximity or shape can make and break visual relationships between different elements in a visual message.

What is the main objective of the signage which you have designed?
The design has two main objectives:-

  1. People should be able to quickly find their bus to their desired destination
  2. To give an overview of the system (i.e. I learn the routes faster and can make informed decisions while changing bus routes or find alternative ways of travelling)

What is the first thing that should be highlighted in the signage, which most of the students miss out ? The first that needs to highlight is the bus stop, i.e. where am I standing now.
It seems quite simple but gets missed out.

What was the first approach used? The first attempt was to use a diagrammatic approach. Where an abstract route of different buses is shown and the routes and buses are colour coded. It gives a clear conceptual model but is difficult for quick visual scan and is not scalable at a systemic level i.e.  if more buses/ routes are added this logic of arrangement might not work.

So what changes were done to solve this problem? For the second iteration a textual approach was used accompanying diagrammatic approach. The buses and the stations were arranged in an x-y arrangement with buses on x axis and stations on the y axis. The stations were arranged in alphabetical order which help in quick scanning through the stations. A diagrammatic approach was adopted to give an overview of the bus routes.
Contact: saifee.mustafa@gmail.com