National Express – Birmingham Coach Station

Birmingham Coach Station is a major transport gateway serving destinations throughout the UK. It is also the headquarters of National Express.

The new interchange was officially opened at the end of 2009, after a two-year, £15million revamp, and is a modern, glass-fronted structure, complete with concourse, information centre and cafes.

Over three million people are expected to use the new station each year. Ease of use and safety are of paramount importance as many users will be totally unfamiliar with the location, in a hurry and possibly tired and travel-stressed.

Making sure travellers don't get lost

Nicholas Hawksworth Wayfinding Consultants won the tender from the National Express core brand team to analyse how effectively the new National Express brand could be used in the coach station, and to devise a new wayfinding concept.

“Our first step was to spend time at the old station in Birmingham, talking with customers and National Express staff. This provided a profile of traveller use and an insight into how users would need to navigate the new building, to orientate, and plan their onward journey”.

The investigations identified problems with the National Express sign guidelines. By analysing these problems we were able to advise the core branding team and set about proposing new concept designs for a full pedestrian and vehicle wayfinding scheme at the new station.

Implementing the wayfinding scheme

Following approval, we developed a detailed external and internal wayfinding scheme which incorporated high level lettering, vehicle directions and a concourse direction system which built on the core ‘connector’ of the National Express logo, enhaincing the brand relationship.

We then project managed a tender list for the main contractor, oversaw manufacture, installation and snagging. The new building opened to the public at Christmas 2009 to instant full capacity use, and no wayfinding issues. We are very proud of the scheme.

Travelling into the future

Nicholas Hawksworth are now working on new projects with National Express and continue to act as wayfinding consultant and advisor to the National Express corporate brand team.

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