Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) Launches Pilot In-terminal Interactive Wayfinding Project.

In October of 2015, Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) launched a pilot, digital wayfinding project. The goal of the project was to improve passenger experience in the terminals of the busiest airport in the Washington, D.C. Metro area. The resulting interactive digital signs are the culmination of four months of work by project partners Art of Context, Com-net Software, and Fourwinds Interactive.

Wide view of BWI International Airport Interactive Digital Sign in the midst of existing FIDS display

Through our extensive experience Art of Context has developed a detailed development process for digital signage installations. During the initial phases of the project our team performed an in-depth analysis to clarify business requirements, and specifications. We also worked with different stakeholders to understand the data infrastructure and integration points. We conducted an asset inventory to determine what digital assets were available and what would need to be created. Once we understood the needs, we created use cases to help everyone visualize how different customers would interact with the signs and what data elements were necessary to meet various needs.

Slide shows height of signs vs. height of individual of different heights including those in wheelchairs

The business needs analysis, use cases, and asset inventory create a foundation for the design and user interface development phase of the project. We designed and created the design elements of the proposed solution and worked closely with BWI stakeholders to iterate out the designs to their satisfaction.

The team was tasked with bringing digital wayfinding to BWI via user-friendly, interactive digital signs. In an effort to ease the transition for passengers and maximize resources, the interactive wayfinding maps are displayed on state-of-the-art screens housed in both new and existing enclosures e.g. FIDS (Flight Information Data Systems) banks. As of October, 2015 there are four pre-security installations, Three in departures and one in arrivals.

BWI passengers can use the interactive wayfinding screens to:

  • check flight status
  • verify departure gates
  • locate concessions
  • create personalized turn-by-turn directions
  • transfer directions to their mobile device via SMS text message

The system will even route you between multiple floors of the terminal. The pilot program is multi-lingual, offering support for both English and Spanish.

“BWI is off to a great start with this pilot.” Says Art of Context Principal Colleen Hamilton. Response to the the new interactive digital wayfinding screens has been very positive from the traveling public and BWI Administration. BWI is planning to measure the success of the project and use that data to plan for future interactive wayfinding initiatives. “We are looking forward to collaborating further with BWI as they work to improve passenger experience through wayfinding endeavors in the future.”