Department of Rapid Transit Systems,Taipei City Government

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Human Concerns



Signage design is a type of visual design, which uses the composition of words, graphics and colors to provide identification, guidance, illustration, and warning functions. The signage system in the MRT provides assistance, disseminates MRT information, connects facilities and helps manage the system. The main aim of signage designed by DORTS is to provide a basic service to passengers on the network and ensure a safe and smooth journey from their station of origin to their destination.

Taipei MRT is the first transportation network of its kind in Taiwan. In the early stages of designing the signage system, DORTS referred to established designs in other countries. However, a variety of designs in different countries made it clear that there was no standard design. Therefore, to adapt to the spatial planning and architectural forms, DORTS developed a graphic design manual specifically for Taipei MRT project. The manual contains all the basic design concepts and was published in February 1991. It was used as the basis of signage design for all facilities on the MRT. DORTS also issued a series of standardized detailed drawings for the systemwide design concept.

Basic Design of Signage

The basic elements of signage include graphics, words, colors and arrows. The visual effect of a design should cover the basic needs of clarity, comprehensibility, prominence, and legibility.

1. Graphics

Graphic design should fulfill the requirements of unity, continuity, simplicity, visibility, legibility and coherence. Graphic design on Taipei MRT follows these guidelines and refers to the official ISO Geneva International Standard.

2. Words

The design must consider the typeface, size, and spacing of all words. All literal illustrations on the Taipei MRT are in both Chinese and English. Chinese characters on regular signboards are in black type (and bold type or special bold type depending on the size of the typeface). English signs are normally Helvetica Medium or Helvetica Regular. Signs bearing station names use an adjusted special Min typeface for Chinese characters and Optima Bold for English.

3. Color

Proper use of color can simplify complex information. The color of representative graphics should have a unique character that cannot be easily altered, such as in the DORTS logo. The color system and color number should be fixed in order to unify the color basis for different production processes and materials. Signs pertaining to service facilities such as public phones, information booths, and elevators are mainly in blue; warning signs such as for emergency stop buttons, plus "No Smoking" and "No Food and Drink" signs are mainly in red; exit information is in yellow.

4. Arrow Heads

This design is for guiding people in the right direction. According to the guidelines, the angle of the arm of an arrowhead graphic should be 90°, and the graphic should be simple and in bold type in order to reduce misunderstandings generated between vision and comprehension. The oblique arrow heads on the TRTS are mostly used in floor transition areas.

Individual Design Features of Signage on Taipei MRT

1. Identification of Systems, Lines, and Stations

(1) System Identification

The identity sign of Taipei MRT is the logo, which is mainly used to identify an MRT facility.

Identifying system of Systems, Lines and Stations

(2) Line Identification

To enable easy identification of different MRT lines, each line is assigned a specific color: Red Line, Blue Line, Green Line, Brown Line, etc. These colors are used as the background for station names as well as featuring prominently in stations' interior furnishings.

(3) Station Identification

Stations are identified by signs displaying the stations' names located above every station entrance, in places connecting to non-MRT areas and on all platforms.

2. Direction Signs

Direction Signs These signs mainly provide guidance to main circulation routes and relevant facilities such as boarding (towards platforms and train direction), exit (all exit directions), interchanges, paths for the disabled, emergency exits, etc. Consideration is given to the planning and design of architectural fittings and passenger circulation inside stations, and installation can take the forms of lighted boxes, free-standing signs, and poster-type signs as appropriate.

3. Passenger Information Posters

Passenger Information Posters

These posters provide detailed subsidiary information and are located according to entry/exit circulation and the content and character of information on the posters.

Categories of passenger information boards are as follows:

(1) TRTS Route Map

Showing the MRT network, the map mainly provides information on stations, interchange points, and the relative locations of lines. Currently, only the initial network is shown on the map. Operational lines are shown as solid colored lines while non-operational lines and sections are shown as unfilled lines.

(2) Station Information Map

This map mainly displays a plan of each floor of the station and identifies the location of the main public facilities. The direction of the map corresponds to the reader's location, and a "You are here" point is indicated.

(3) Station Location Map

This map identifies the location and scope of a station, its entrance locations, streets and important buildings within a 500-800-meter radius of the station, and locations of interchange facilities.

(4) Exit Information

If there are more than two exits to a station, the main buildings and streets around each exit are listed next to the closest exit. Some stations with complex passenger circulation, such as interchange stations, display sectional exit information on the platforms.

(5) Route Map

Route Map This map is usually located on the trackside walls close to the escalators or stairs at platform level and indicates the stations along the route and train direction with the previous stations indicated in lighter colors.

(6) Fare Map

Fare maps are posted on the boards between Automatic Ticket Issuing Machines (ATIM) as well as on the top of each ATIM. These maps provide information on fares and also indicate whether the station is operational.

Fare Map

(7) At least one fire fighting equipment layout plan should be displayed on each level. The layout plan includes the location of fire equipment such as the fire hose cabinet, fire extinguishers, and emergency exits.

4. Instructional Signs

These signs illustrate the characteristics and use of each facility and area, such as toilets, information booths, women's night-time safeguarded waiting zone, public phones, fire hose cabinets, emergency buttons, priority seats, parking spaces for wheelchairs, fire extinguishers, emergency telephones, etc.

5. Warning Signs

Warning Signs Such signs warn passengers of prohibited behavior, including "No Smoking," "No Food and Drink," escalator caution signs, "Mind the Platform Gap," "No Entrance," and "Danger-High Voltage." Some of these warning signs list the penalties for violations.

Information on the above signs is fixed. The LED dot matrix display boards provide mixed information services and have moving displays. The information on them includes the present time, arrival time of the next train, train direction, promotional information and some advertising. The LED dot matrix display boards inside the cars show the name of the next station as a service for the hearing-impaired.

  • Hit: 6650
  • Updated: 2013/6/7 09:52
  • Reviewed: 2017/2/10 09:36

  • Source: Department of Rapid Transit Systems, Taipei City Government
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