SEPTA Unveils New “SEPTA Metro” Wayfinding System

Examples of SEPTA Metro’s Wayfinding on mobile, Courtesy of SEPTA

Today, September 7th, 2021, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) unveiled a new wayfinding system, named SEPTA Metro, which aims to completely overhaul how riders identify lines and services.

SEPTA Metro would begin by renaming lines to match more identifying symbols and colors rather than names and numbers. Here’s a rundown of what is to change, by mode.

  • Market-Frankford Line would become the L line, and as the graphic to the right implies, the name comes from the fact that everyone already refers to the Market Frankford Line as the EL.
  • Broad Street Subway would be come the B lines. With numbers denoting each service type.
    • B1 would be the Broad Street Line Local
    • B2 would be the Broad Street Line express
    • B3 would be the Broad-Ridge Spur
  • Norristown High Speed Line This would be a bigger change, because the name would first change to Montgomery County Line, as there will be two versions of the NHSL at some point. But then becuase it would become Montgomery County, the symbol will become M instead of N.
    • M1 would be local service from 69th Street T.C. to Norristown
    • M2 would be express service from 69th Street T.C. to Norristown
    • M3 would be local service from 69th Street T.C. to King of Prussia
    • M4 would be express service from 69th Street T.C. to King of Prussia
    • M5 would be a Spur Line from Norristown to King of Prussia
  • Subway-Surface Trolley Lines would be unified as the T lines (Tunnel Trolleys). However they would be separate by number. The graphic below shows what each number means

The Girard Avenue trolley, or G, is meant to be different than the “tunnel” trolleys. So much so that it bears a different color than the rest of the lines. This would replace route 15. Since the 15 itself isn’t in full service yet, there’s still much more planning to be done with the G.

Suburban Trolleys 101 and 102, which spend most of their time in Delaware county, would be rebranded as the D trolleys to reflect this. D1 would replace the 101 and D2 would replace 102. Everything else is straightforward.

Signage

SEPTA Metro also aims to replace the signage at stations, on platforms, and at entrances. According to the plan, the current signage is too confusing or inconsistent to understand. Some signs even imply things that are not relevant to the trip. Specifically, the statement was a sign noting service to “Penn’s Landing and University City” which is not reflected on any map. The new signs will be more uniform across lines, reflecting a more universal approach to the direction of travel and line symbols.

To the right, we have an example of how this would be applied in practice. The signs directing passengers to the westbound platform would note the direction of travel in big bold print, with the line and terminus being directly under this. The eastbound platform makes it clear that you’re on the eastbound side.

SEPTA Metro Wayfinding Identifiers

The picture to the left shows how a subway entrance would look. Signs would note which line types operate here, as well as which specific lines serve said station. Here we have the Market-Frankford Line (L), Broad Street Line (B), and Trolley lines (T) all accessible from this station. You also can see how the sign has colored stripes reflecting the different modes, as well as the location of the station. If you want more information on this plan it’s recommended you check out the plan site here.

Implimentation

SEPTA is currently still working out plans for the SEPTA Metro, and is currently doing community outreach for feedback. They also offer a full-service map that not only details what is to come with each line as of right now but gives a preview of how the current system interacts with the bus system. It also gives a more in-depth look at what all is to change. If you want to see my specific opinions on this, check here. For now, leave your own feedback at https://map.septa.org.

About the author: DashTransit

I have been with Virtual Transportation Cente since it's conception as the "Dash Forums" back in 2008. Since then, I have been writing and doing YouTube side by side, focusing both on Transportation and Gaming. Most of my knowledge comes from SEPTA as I lived in Philadelphia for most of my life. As of 2021, I am on YouTube as DashTransit, Dash5155, and TheDashOfficial.

As for the name DashTransit itself, it actually stems from my YouTube channel.

DashTransit was originally called "njt5329" and the channel was just clips of buses. Mostly SEPTA and NJT. A Fujifilm Finepix was used in this era.

Starting in July 2011, the Canon SX130IS camera became the camera of the channel, bringing HD documentary-style videos much like my buddy (trainman1971) did for DVD for many years past. This is when the channel became known as "Transit Action Series"

In May 2012, the original Canon SX130IS retired, and then all videos were recorded off a mobile phone until eventually uploaded proved too difficult due to hardships IRL

Starting in 2017, I used a Canon SX200IS from Bastranz to reboot the channel that otherwise was dead for a whole year prior.

Between April 19th, 2019, and January 21st, 2021, all videos were recorded by a Canon SX710 HS camera. The channel was renamed DashTransit 4/19/19.

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