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An update from former SDS seminar speaker on research into how London taxi drivers navigate and what as wayfinders we can learn from them

View of a group of London Black Cabs stationary on a street at dusk

Those of you with long memories or who have more recently been revisiting SDS seminars past, via our Talks Archive (only accessible to paid up Society members), you may recall UCL PhD student Eva-Maria Griesbauer‘s thought-provoking and informative presentation on how her research into London taxi drivers’ acquisition and use of ‘The Knowledge” can inform and/or explain principles in wayfinding design.

Almost a year on from her talk for us, you may be interested to read her research update article for the Royal Institute of Navigation, currently available to read via downloadable PDF free-of-charge for the month of May.

Maria is also part of a new study at the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience at UCL which plans to scan licensed ‘black cab’ drivers’ brains to understand how activity changes during tasks relating to their perception of London road boundaries. It is hoped that research findings might possibly predict human navigation more generally across international cities based on known factors of their street networks (i.e. common boundaries). This could potentially help optimise traffic flow and/or planning of future new cities and improve navigation instructions.

A reminder of Eva’s seminar for the SDS if you’re not a Society member and can’t access resources behind the website pay wall.