Assessing Ottawa-Gatineau Wayfinding Needs

April 10, 2017


Pedestrian wayfinding is crucial for any leading city as it increases awareness of the area for residents and tourists, promotes more walkability, and increases foot traffic for street level businesses. Recognizing this, Ottawa Tourism enlisted Entro to conduct research to assess the desire for a unified pedestrian wayfinding system in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

Entro is currently conducting a feasibility study to assess the levels of interest for such a pedestrian wayfinding system. As part of their process, Entro will be examining several areas of interest, including the type of information users are looking for, who the users are, best practices around the world, implementation methods, as well as opportunities & constraints. This will be achieved through a series of key stakeholder workshops, public consultations and pedestrian intercept surveys – including public online surveys.

For the stakeholder workshops, Entro met with over 75 key individuals from various groups such as retailers and restauranteurs, hotels and conference centres, community arts and culture groups, secondary stakeholders and representatives from the Ottawa and Gatineau regions.

For the surveys, we have compiled feedback through pedestrian intercept surveys and 2 ongoing bilingual online surveys. We have received detailed information from over 300 individuals on their interests, perceptions and habits – specifically what type of information they need, their knowledge of local district names, how they move through the city, what modes of transportation they use, and if they felt that wayfinding would make their journey easier.

Armed with these insights, we are compiling all results into a feasibility study, followed by the development of a wayfinding strategy that includes final recommendations and a plan on how to proceed with the subsequent phases of the project. The wayfinding strategy will cover questions surrounding the best areas in Ottawa-Gatineau for pedestrian wayfinding, circulation plans, possible sign locations, and integration of technology. We will then be creating a pilot program plan to be implemented in a future project phase. This research will allow us to establish a hierarchy of destinations and information so that visitors, tourists and locals in Ottawa-Gatineau can explore the area efficiently and enjoyably while promoting a sense of exploration and discovery.