Partnerships

Improving wayfinding at airports

May 13, 2019 / Canada

We know that when travelers land at the airport, they’re often exhausted and eager to reach their final destination. Navigating to ground transportation options isn’t always easy, especially when you’re arriving at an airport for the first time.

As a global rideshare platform serving more than 600 airports around the world, we’re always exploring new ways to enhance the traveler journey from door to door. Sometimes this requires sophisticated technology, but in other cases it can be surprisingly simple.

One example of a low-tech solution with the potential to make a big impact is a new wayfinding standard spearheaded by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in collaboration with Uber, airport leaders, and other industry stakeholders. The standard—which features consistent wording and imagery for signs directing to TNCs (transportation network companies, such as Uber)—aims to provide a familiar experience for travelers wherever they land.

What does the standard look like in the real world? Signage at airports clearly displays the words “Ride App Pickup,” sometimes accompanied by a simple graphic featuring a vehicle and location pin displayed on a mobile app screen. This graphic is recognizable and different from any other mode of ground transportation, making it easy for travelers to distinguish it while quickly navigating through airports.

Since the recommendation’s release last year in a white paper published by AAAE, a number of major US airports have implemented it, including Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Denver International Airport (DEN), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Nashville International Airport (BNA), Orlando International Airport (MCO), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

“After a long trip, the last thing a traveler needs is confusion as to where they need to go to catch a ride. Right now, every airport has different signage and icons, creating additional stress for passengers. Through our partnership with AAAE, the private sector, and other airports, LAX will be leading the way in displaying what we hope will become the industry standard icon and creating easier wayfinding for travelers who choose app-based ride services.”

Keith Wilschetz, Deputy Executive Director of Operations and Emergency Management, Los Angeles World Airports 
(September 2018)

Partnering on implementation

We believe this effort has great potential to improve the traveler experience, and we encourage airports to adopt AAAE’s recommended standard. If your airport has already rolled out the standard, let us know at airport-ops@uber.com. We’ll make sure in-app wayfinding and rider and driver communications reflect your airport’s participation.

If your airport is currently using different wording or graphics and you’re interested in exploring the standard, you can download AAAE’s usage guide and icon files. Be sure to let us know once you’re ready to implement.

We look forward to collaborating with you on wayfinding standardization and future initiatives that will help elevate the customer experience.