Dementia Singapore is proud that its wayfinding initiatives continue to inspire transport operators and towns to make the environment more dementia-friendly. This time, we have SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) onboard!
In March 2022, SMRT invited Dementia Singapore to be part of its Wayfinding Project to enhance the accessibility of the Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub (WITH) to ensure inclusivity for persons with cognitive disabilities, including dementia.
The transport hub was designed as an inclusive bus interchange for people with disabilities. In this wayfinding enhancement, SMRT worked alongside Agency for Integrated Care, Dementia Singapore, APSN and Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS).
Vincent Gay, Deputy Managing Director, Buses shared, “Our objective is to ease the anxiety of these commuters who are travelling independently. To alleviate that, we sought valuable inputs from the social service agencies (SSAs), including Dementia Singapore. The SSAs provided very good feedback, which was incorporated to benefit the larger community.”
Holding dialogues and involving those with disabilities
Dementia Singapore has always been advocating for those impacted by dementia and strives to involve them in community initiatives. Self-advocates Anjang Rosli and Emily Ong provided invaluable comments and advice that were implemented into the project. Both were glad that the transport operator was open to seeing through the eyes of persons living with dementia, understanding the requirements, and partnering with them to co-design and improve the environment.
Anjang, who lives at Woodlands, found this project extra meaningful as it is closer to home. “As a person with dementia and having had the experience of being lost in the community, these murals and directional signs on the floor give me the confidence to navigate the interchange independently. It makes me feel safe as the murals help me to orientate myself, and I do not need to spend as much effort to find my way around,” he elaborated.
After the implementation of the wayfinding project at WITH in 2022, the team at SMRT extended the efforts to two other interchanges: Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub (BPITH) and Choa Chu Kang Interchange (CCKI) in 2023.
Fruits of our Labour
With input from the various partners, SMRT marked out the interchanges with a theme that most are familiar with – fruits. The visual cues are depicted on the walls and floors within the interchange, which will guide commuters to bus berths independently.
“It was crucial to understand the flow of commuters and the layout of the interchanges. For example, the layout at Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub is a long rectangle with berths on two sides, which can be confusing for commuters. With input from the respective SSAs, we divided the interchange into zones with proper wayfinding visual cues,” said Mr Vincent Gay.
Emily, also a project lead of Dementia Alliance International Environmental Design – Special Interest Group (DAI ED-SiG), acknowledged how such collaborations would give confidence to older persons and those with cognitive disabilities like dementia. “The key to becoming more inclusive is to have dialogue and adopt the co-design approach so that no one is left behind. Inputs from persons with cognitive disability would make the intervention strategies more effective and functional,” she emphasised.
Beyond Our Shores
As Dementia Singapore continues to contribute to dementia-friendly community projects, we are proud to have encouraged overseas partners to take on a similar approach at its metro stations.
“The Taiwan Dementia working group was inspired by the efforts in Singapore and have sparked them to broaden inclusive initiatives in their public transport sector,” Emily shared. “Ultimately, such initiatives help preserve independent mobility of persons with cognitive disabilities and give us the confidence to use public transport.”
Other stories on wayfinding initiatives:
- Building Inclusive Dementia-Friendly Communities with those living with dementia
- ‘Find Your Way’ by SBS Transit
- Find My Way Home