Photo: ‘Find Your Way’ Launch at Chinatown MRT Station on 17 August 2022 (Photo: SBS Transit)
Alight at Chinatown MRT Station, make your way to the concourse, and you will find that there are several different exits across the stretch of the station. This can get confusing for a person with dementia. To better orient them and help lead the way, brightly-coloured floor arrow decals are used to point to the different exits, each adorned with a unique symbol of a traditional item.
A red lantern, a yellow tiffin box, a green rotary dial telephone, a blue retro carrier bag, and a brown bamboo basket. These are all items of the yesteryears, bound to evoke a sense of nostalgia in those who used them frequently in the past. At Chinatown MRT station, images of these very items are colour-coded and coupled with directional floor stickers, help to guide persons with dementia and seniors to their desired exits.
This is part of the “Find Your Way” initiative – a collaboration between Dementia Singapore and SBS Transit to help persons with dementia navigate public transport spaces with greater ease and independence.
To select the symbols of reminiscence used at each exit, the working team – comprising dementia self-advocates, artists, SBS Transit and Dementia Singapore – referenced the landmarks at each exit to help users associate the symbols with the landmarks. Exit A which leads to Pagoda Street, has a traditional red Chinese lantern as its unique identifier. Exit C which leads to People’s Park Complex and other shopping malls, has a blue retro carrier bag to represent shopping. For Exits E & G which lead to Chinatown Point, the brown bamboo basket is meant to remind us of the shops which sell traditional biscuits. Exit D, represented by a green rotary dial phone, leads to People’s Park Centre which houses several legal firms and offices. Lastly, Exit F is symbolised by a yellow tiffin carrier, as it leads to Hong Lim Market and Food Centre.
First launched at Toa Payoh bus interchange in February this year, the wayfinding initiative has now been extended to Chinatown MRT station – the first MRT station to incorporate guiding arrows and symbols inspired by reminiscence.
The official launch was held on 17 August, and the event was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, Mr Baey Yam Keng. He was joined by Dementia Singapore CEO Mr Jason Foo, SBS Transit CEO Mr Cheng Siak Kian, along with Dementia Singapore’s Voices for Hope graduates and dementia self-advocates Mr Anjang Rosli, Ms Emily Ong, and Mr Jack Tan – three of whom lent their counsel over the course of this project. The group then led Mr Baey and the media on a tour of the MRT station and shared how the “Find Your Way” initiative was conceptualised.
Said Mr Baey in a Facebook post the day after the launch, “Dementia Singapore representatives shared with me yesterday that SBS Transit Ltd’s “Find Your Way” stickers at Chinatown Point MRT Station help them navigate around the station and exits more easily due to the familiar design and vibrant colours.”
This was reiterated by Mr Jason Foo, as he added, “… using strong primary colours is distinct and helps to avoid confusion, and the symbols are easily recognisable for individuals who have formed a strong memory or association with the items.”
“The mutual respect that we have within the team has been the greatest asset of our collaboration. Dementia self-advocates are taken seriously as consultants and are working in tandem with the transport providers like the SBS Transit, artists, and Dementia Singapore. That is the essence of the co-design approach where the opinions of persons with dementia are valued in the decision-making process.” – Ms Emily Ong, Dementia Self-Advocate
The Way Forward
The “Find Your Way” initiative will be progressively rolled out to four other MRT stations and three more bus interchanges – namely, Mattar, Boon Keng, Kovan and Geylang Bahru MRT stations, and Ang Mo Kio, Boon Lay and Hougang Central bus interchanges – all areas with high senior commuters’ footfall.
This complements Dementia Go-To-Points (GTPs) as part of the Dementia-Friendly Singapore initiative, supported by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).
Learn more about “Find Your Way” and how it started here.
Check out the “Find Your Way” initiative featured in the news: