Lambert - St. Louis Digital Wayfinding Signage

Customer Service Technology Innovation

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport set out to dramatically overhaul and upgrade its terminal wayfinding and concessions signage systems. The upgrade resulted in moving away from traditional 2-D wall and flooring signs to an all new digital directory signage system that gave Lambert full content control that allows for continual, and cost-effective updates with all new facility and service changes. Lambert created all new mapping and graphics to work with the digital directory program that both enhanced customer service and the Airport’s own branding efforts. The Airport also built passenger paging and a weather alert system into the directories.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

• Build a completely new wayfinding directory system that could be accessed by passengers and customers to find airlines, restaurants, airport services, ground transportation and other facility offerings.
• Use a trusted and reliable vendor for software and hardware systems for the digital directory system that gives STL complete content control and access to update 24/7.
• Create all new mapping of terminals and concourses that best enhances the wayfinding experience through the new digital directory system.
• Create custom mapping templates and graphics that best enhances the user experience for wayfinding.
• Build a program that offers concession and services information, including food and drink locations, pictures of menu options and the actual menus themselves.
• Build program to accommodate visual paging (ADA compliance) for the public.
• Provide live weather information, live weather radar and weather safety warnings/alerts for severe weather and tornado threats.

2. Production: 

• The Airport embarked on the digital directory project as part of a larger renovation program of facilities (Lambert Experience Program) that concluded in 2014.
• Airport partnered with Four Winds Interactive over a 2 year period, working in-sync or around renovation of terminals and concourses, for the custom development of the overall program that merged custom content with chosen software and hardware installations.
• 19 digital directories were installed in Terminal 1, Terminal 2, as well as Concourses A, C and E. The final installation was December 2014.
• Six of the 19 units are touch screen directories that feature live weather (5-day forecast), live weather radar, terminal maps with route mapping technology, wayfinding categories, food and beverage menus and more.
• 13 of the units are “View and Go” or (read only) kiosks that slide through the same key categories (Airlines, Food/Drink, Services, Ground Transportation).
• Airport Public Relations managed custom mapping/creative content for this project with assistance from its marketing agency, Boxing Clever. The entire layout of the directories, maps, images, graphics, etc. were created just for this system.

3. Evaluation: 

• The Airport’s upgrade to a modern, high tech digital interface system was crucial customer service upgrade because it was part of a full facility renovation (Terminal 1). The mission for the renovation was to improve the passenger experience and amenities. Directories were also installed in Terminal 2.
• The directories also enabled the Airport to upgrade its passenger paging abilities with a feature that allows for visual paging throughout the Airport, which is crucial for the hearing impaired public.
• In addition to better wayfinding, the system gives users current information on concessions locations, operating hours, store descriptions and even menus for food/drink options.
• The system was also designed to give passengers, customers and the public more weather information. This need became more critical after a tornado struck the Airport in the spring of 2011. Live weather radar, weather forecasts and emergency weather messaging are part of the features in the system. The Airport can remotely activate messaging for the public to take shelter if there’s a tornado on track for the Airport.
• This was a pure long term project that required a high upfront investment for greater financial savings through the life of this program (see budget). Prior to this project, the cost to make a single change on the previous 2-D customer/passenger wayfinding maps throughout the facility was $10,000 per re-print update. Today, that cost is $0. The Airport has made 10 substantial map or concession/service information changes since the system went online.

4. Budget: 

Four Winds Interactive: hardware, software, professional services in content and program design and professional installation were covered through the Airport’s facility renovation budget, as this was a permanent facility improvement.
Total Cost: $219,000
Airport Public Relations: Custom terminal maps, system graphics, directory layout design
Total cost: $65,000 *The directory maps, graphics and layout were also used to upgrade the Airport’s website and other informational collateral (printed maps), so this cost covered upgrades for other key customer service projects for the Airport.
Total cost: $285,000