A new orientation table guides users through the maze of La Défense station
par Elsa Sidawy | 04.29.11
On April 8th, the RATP unveiled a digital orientation table in the multimodal station of La Défense, crossed daily by hundreds of thousands of travelers. The idea: to facilitate access to the city and activity hubs and promote awareness of business services to travelers. Following this experimentation, the new type of urban furniture should appear in the halls of the largest stations in the Ile-de-France.
“The goal is to simplify our client’s reading of highly complex areas where they have access to different modes of transport and a direct link with the outside environment,” explains Vincent Faude, the man responsible for implementing the project at the RATP. The interface and navigation make this table easy to use. With just one touch the user enters a world designed to help them navigate the large open hall of La Défense station. “The RATP’s mission is to facilitate access to the city,” says Vincent Faude, echoing the company slogan, “Love the City.“ The most basic function, “transport” helps users find a route to different modes of transport. Within a few months, an itinerary search service based on data from transportation schedules in real time should also be available on the same terminal.
The “shopping” rubric highlights shops located inside the station. A strategic choice since the terminal is located at the entrance of the 4 Temps mall. Under “Services,” users can find information on everything from toilets to ticket windows within the labyrinth. For each query, arrows guide the user on their path. The last category, “external” directs users through the larger La Défense, an urban financial center. All content is available in both French and English, in order to meet the needs of users of all nationalities.
Experimentation before the extension
The public experiment, which will last until the end of the year, will allow the creators to make any necessary technical and functional improvements. “We will make recommendations for extending this facility to other areas RATP based on usage statistics and user surveys”. The 400 consultations daily portend the interest of passengers for this type of furniture. A good point: users who passed by during the demonstration, naturally veered toward the tool.
A more social than technological innovation
On the sustainable development side, the company has remained shy. A screensaver dims the lights when the table is not in use and the screen is programmed to turn off at night when the station is closed. In terms of accessibility, “we worked in line with RATP’s accessibility mission to have a tool that meets a number of standards. Its frontal access allows people in wheelchairs to use the device and the base helps the visually impaired locate the terminal.” In addition, the contrasting colors and zoom feature make the plan more easily readable for the visually impaired. As in the case with its Project Blue Eyes, the group shows once again its commitment to social rather than technology solutions, even if the tool fulfills both criteria.
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Translated by Genny Cortinovis