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CSMT signage termed ideal, all stations asked to emulate it

Updated on: 10 June,2023 07:55 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rajendra B. Aklekar |

Latest rail signage policy document praises design, placement of signs at terminus

CSMT signage termed ideal, all stations asked to emulate it

Platform numbers and crucial information are prominently displayed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus

The signage at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) has been described as ideal and other stations across Indian Railways have been recommended to emulate it in the latest national railway signage policy document, which has been updated for the first time since 1999. An official told mid-day that signage helps visitors make cognitive decisions related to their journey and other needs on railway station premises.

“Good signage conveys messages swiftly and unambiguously, often without the need to read the complete contents. Well-designed signage uses simple and easily decipherable language, easy-to-read colours and fonts, intuitive pictograms and conveys a message quickly and unambiguously,” the official said.

“Signage at various parts of CSMT station, including the concourse, entry/exit gates, circulating area, direction boards, individual platform signage, have been cited as ideal examples,” he added, stating the document also praised the way the signs have been placed, their design, elliptical glow boards, size of text graphics and uniform LED illumination.

The policy document, a copy of which is with mid-day, states that though the technical specification of signage that has been used at CSMT has been given for reference purposes only; the detailed specifications, including material etc, across Indian Railways shall be prepared by zonal railways as per station requirements at the site and as per good industry practices as technologies and materials evolve continuously and the actual technical specifications may vary.

“For the convenience of passengers, platform number signage and indicative boards were upgraded at CSMT in March 2021. The signage includes large fonts displaying the platform numbers of suburban and long-distance trains, which help passengers easily locate platforms from a considerable distance. CSMT is one of the busiest stations and sees lakhs of passengers every day. The suburban zone of the station has platform numbers 1 to 7 and three indicative boards and platform numbers 8 to 18 and 2 indicative boards have been provided,” a spokesperson said.

Mandated fonts

The national railway signage policy document mandates that the English text font for signage should be Helvetica Bold for all non-illuminated signs and illuminated signs while the Utsaah Bold font should be used for all Hindi text. For regional languages, the fonts must be suitably selected with the approval of the local divisional railway manager concerned.

A diagram in the document showing how information should be conveyed
A diagram in the document showing how information should be conveyed

According to the document, where bilingual signage is used, the font size of both languages shall “be the same and as mentioned above”. Where trilingual signage is to be used, the regional language will be the main language and “its font size will be as mentioned above and font size of other two languages shall be approximately 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the size of regional language”.

The objectives

Pictograms in the document
Pictograms in the document

According to the document, the objective is to provide a uniform rationale for locating signage, considering how they will be read, by whom, from which direction, at which height, and in relation to other elements that exist or will exist within the space so that they serve the maximum volume of passengers/general public; to provide a basis for aesthetically designed signage well integrated with station architecture; to plan and design the signage such that the station is easily accessible even to a first-time visitor; and to ensure standard signages suitably formatted with specified design/materials.

The policy also seeks to ensure that information on the signage is precise and uniform, accommodating essential information; reduce redundancy and avoid visual clutter; bring about the use of uniform language/legends across India; and ensure that the signage is accessible to the maximum extent possible by Divyangjan users.

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