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Industry Briefs
Nashville Unveils Innovative Wayfinding Program
New Guidance System Will Help Visitors Locate Destinations
and Navigate City With Ease

Mayor Karl Dean and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau (NCVB) recently unveiled a new Wayfinding sign and traffic guidance program to provide improved directional signage and maps for visitors in Downtown Nashville, North Nashville and West End. Nashville is the first large urban area to implement a multi-layered directional program of this kind.

“This new Wayfinding Guidance System will further establish Nashville as a world-class place to live, work, play and visit,” Mayor Dean said. “The system will help tourists and residents alike get out and enjoy Nashville’s treasures, and it will contribute to our city’s economic vitality.”

Nashville’s Wayfinding program integrates pedestrian maps and signage, with local street and interstate traffic guidance signs. It is being implemented in three phases: The first, unveiled recently, is pedestrian map signage located in the city’s most traveled tourist areas. The second phase, which will be installed in the fall of 2011, integrates local roadway signs directing visitors to destinations. The third phase, planned next year, adds interstate signage directing visitors to areas of town.

Crews began installing the 155 Wayfinding pedestrian map signs around the city in August. Each sign features a three-dimensional map illustration oriented to the precise viewing position at that location for ease of use. The signs also direct visitors to the NCVB’s mobile website for more detailed Music City visitor information. In Phases 2 and 3, 362 local roadway signs and an innovative area-based system of Interstate signs will follow to complete the comprehensive Wayfinding system.

An additional 100 maps will be funded through the Metro Nashville Public Health Department’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, and will encourage residents to walk and bike to neighborhood healthy food and recreation opportunities. The maps will be installed by Metro Public Works beginning this fall in North and East Nashville. The new Wayfinding guidance system is made possible by a Federal Highway Administration grant awarded to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and 20 percent matching funds from Metro Nashville Government. The NCVB, Metro Nashville Public Works and the Nashville Downtown Partnership collaborated with the nationally-recognized company Informing Design to develop and implement the system.

“This is a truly unique system,” said Bob Firth, president of Informing Design. “I don’t know of any other place in the world that has a Wayfinding program which integrates pedestrian mapping, roadway and interstate signage and the web.”

“As our roads become safer, more inviting places, it’s important to have an information system that points the way to key destinations,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. Local attraction and hospitality industry leaders were engaged and actively involved in the Wayfinding planning process.

“We were pleased to be a part of the planning for the Nashville Wayfinding system and are excited that the program is becoming a reality,” said Susan H. Edwards, executive director of the Frist Center. “The new system integrates signs on our Interstate Highways and city streets and beautifully graphic lamppost maps that all work together to guide visitors and residents to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Downtown Nashville and to so many other wonderful destinations across the city. Visitors will spend less time searching for locations and more time enjoying all Nashville has to offer.”

Maps detailing the locations of the initial 155 pedestrian signs being installed during Phase I are available online at The mission of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau is to maximize the economic contribution of the convention and tourism industry to the community by developing and marketing Nashville as a premier destination.