The Impacts of Station Symbols in Urban Rail-Transit Maps on the Information Search Efficiency

  • 1. Key laboratory of Geographic Information Science, Ministry of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China;
    2. Institute of Cartography, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China

Received date: 2010-10-20

  Revised date: 2011-05-27

  Online published: 2011-06-15

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Transit maps are widely used diagrams in transportation network, which play important roles in travel, and get a perfect balance among geographical positions and understandable grids. The quality of station symbol design for urban rail-transit maps, which are also represented as schematic maps or called 'tube' maps, directly affects users' efficiency and effectiveness (usually measured by 'time consumption') when they search for information. A better symbol design considering human visual perception can lead to faster information acquirement, as well as to optimization of interacting experience. We selected seven types of representative station symbols of transit maps in Shanghai, and designed a statistical system to compare the information searching time during test tasks on railway station symbols with different colors, sizes, outline types and geometrical forms. Tests are carried out in three kinds of people, including Class S (completely unfamiliar with Shanghai metro system), Class C (commonly knowing about Shanghai metro system), and class V (having a detailed knowledge of Shanghai metro system). Time that they spent on searching for designated information on Shanghai metro system maps with different station symbol styles is recorded. Time distribution curve of all subjects shows that the subjects' familiarity to Shanghai metro system has negatively related with the total mean time-consumption in searching for information. Besides, the symbol placement can affect the allocation of subjects' attention. Moreover, different symbol forms have less impact on the time-consumption of class V. But class C reaches high information searching efficiency when they are tested with double-circle color station symbols, which are also larger than railway line's width. Although class S has certain cognitive superiority on the station symbols close to human perception, the differences of searching efficiency among different symbol faces is not obvious.

Cite this article

HE Manli, TANG Xi, HUANG Yuming . The Impacts of Station Symbols in Urban Rail-Transit Maps on the Information Search Efficiency[J]. Journal of Geo-information Science, 2011 , 13(3) : 424 -430 . DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1047.2011.00424


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