Branding and Public Transportation

Having recently moved back to Vancouver, I’ve realized how much I’ve missed miniature Yaletown dogs and clean air.

I’ve also noticed how much better public transportation has gotten around the city — the Seabus all of a sudden has cushioned seats, some of the buses are hybrid and now the Skytrain takes us from downtown to YVR in 23 minutes.

However, the Skytrain stations themselves, although pretty on the inside, are marked by less-than-average signage. The stations aren’t cohesive either – while some have giant signs with the letter “T” (even though it’s called S kyTrain), others are simply marked by the station name. The city has spent way too much money on it for it to be known by a formulaic ‘T’. I know this is the best way for it to be recognized by everyone (ie. tourists), but it can do better. SkyTrain deserves much better branding. Here are some good examples of well-branded transit systems:

Most metro systems in the world have logos or symbols to mark their station entrances. Since most metros are indeed called ‘metros’ (only a select few are called subway, underground, U-Bahn, SkyTrain or something else), many metro logos from around the world are more or less fancy variations of the letter M.

The Solution? How about looking at how different this system is from other ‘trains’? Not only is it the longest automated rapid transit system in the world, it also has a much cooler name than other metro systems. With several expansions being planned, SkyTrain has the potential to standout as much as the city it is in.

Oh, and by the way, I’m totally kidding about the whole mini-Yaletown dog thing.

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