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This way! Applied’s new wayfinding system helps NHS staff navigate unfamiliar territory to reach Bath’s RUH Trust sites

Example of temporary signage to help people navigate their way to the RUH NHS Trust (Bath)

New wayfinding solutions, some potentially more permanent than others, have sprung up – overnight in some cases – across the world over the past few months in response to the emergent COVID-19 pandemic. One such system designed by Applied Wayfinding has been installed in Bath to help NHS workers and volunteers unfamiliar with the city to find their way easily and without delay to the Royal United Hospitals NHS Trust increased capacity Intensive Care Unit (ICU), an important site in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Bath and North East Somerset Council identified an urgent need to ensure that critical care workers had access to clear directions to navigate the city. Partnering with RUH NHS Trust and local transport providers, they turned to Applied (whose founder, Tim Fendley is a Bath resident) to create fast and comprehensible navigation for the city. The project was done pro bono and completed in a week.

‘Strider Maps’ (a concept key to Applied’s ‘Legible London’ wayfinding programme) are at the heart of the resulting wayfinding solution for Bath. Stepping stones placed at regular and key locations (starting with local transport hubs) along the journey highlighting the quickest routes. These edited maps detail defined routes encompassing information on direction, time to reach the destination, and key landmarks to help navigate.

Plans for a digital version of the map are in the pipeline for Bath soon. What is apparent is that the design principles behind the maps could just as easily be rolled out to other cities and healthcare settings.  Tim Fendley commented: “Our hope is to develop an easy to implement toolkit that can be shared with other hospitals and institutions that may need similar support now, and in the future.”