Much of Aurora was off limits due to heavy traffic, perceptions of lack of safety, and not wanting to drive downtown and was viewed as a series of places, vs. a cohesive city. Aurora was challenging to enter, and very confusing to exit.
Collaborating with Elumin and the Aurora Economic Development Commission, the goal was to address existing ad-hoc signage and develop an improved way finding systems and provide concepts that their Department of Streets could produce with existing production capacity.
Methods & Practices
Aurora is the fourth largest city in Illinois and covers 39 square miles of both incorporated and unincorporated areas with major highways, a dozen major arterial roads and many lesser roads. Manhattan by comparison is only 22 square miles.
Trope Collaborative engaged with municipal elected officials, traffic engineer, business and citizen groups through a series of focused workshops to test their knowledge of where specific Aurora landmarks were located and their desires for improved wayfinding. Most people sort of knew where things were, but were off by a factor of thousands or feet or miles. Our knowledge of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) put out by the federal Department of Transportation was important as we audited key signs, locations and frequency.
We prioritized locations, business parks, commercial districts, landmarks, public services, medical facilities, museums, recreation and transportation by frequency to determine their importance across stakeholders in order to maximize any signage system. From this data, we prototyped a simple signage system that would be placed at key decision points along key roadway routes to get visitors and residents to specific areas and more importantly - municipal parking lots.
Impact & Outcome
Trope Collaborative presented Phase 1 findings to the Aurora Economic Development Commission and since I had actively engaged with many stakeholders and the findings were backed up by impressions + data, they agreed with the overall recommendations. The proposed basic signage system and the parking brochure were both utilized which had an effect of increasing use of specific destinations and an increase in the use of municipal parking lots.