The sign system at the three major airports operated by the Port Authority – designed to improve travelers’ experiences by enabling passengers to easily navigate the airports’ terminals, roads, parking lots, garages, and AirTrain stations – has received a 2003 Honor Award from the Society For Environmental Graphic Design.
In bestowing a 2003 Honor Award, the Society’s highest award, SEGD judges said, \"the need for airport wayfinding to function clearly, simply, and directly has been successfully achieved in this application.\"
The award marks the second time this year that signs at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports have been singled out for praise by industry analysts. The February 2003 issue of I.D. (International Design) magazine, which highlighted the 40 best designs of the new century, called the wayfinding system at the airports \"the best signage of the 21st Century, bar none.\"
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, \"The Port Authority is committed to providing the best customer service possible, and these new airportsigns are one example of the many ways we are striving to improve the travel experience for the millions of people who utilize our facilities on a daily basis.\"
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, \"We are always seeking ways to enhance our customers’ experience, and they have told us what the industry experts continue to confirm: Our initiatives are working.\"
Judges for the SEGD, an international design association whose members are involved in the design of graphic elements in the environment, also said, \"Airports are extremely demanding environments for the user. … For the New York and New Jersey airports, it is all about the visitor and the simplicity and hierarchy of color systems and typography. Information is organized based on decision-making and location. … The system ties the entire network of roadway, parking lots, and terminals into one format of communication.\"
A J.D. Power and Associates survey also found the new sign system improved customer satisfaction.
The Port Authority and its partners began replacing the airport signs in 2000. The work is expected to continue for the next several years. Ultimately, thousands of signs will be replaced and installed at all 16 active passenger terminals, AirTrain stations at Newark and JFK, parking lots, garages and roads at the three airports.
The color-coded system has three designs: yellow signs, which direct passengers to airline gates, ticketing and other flight services; green signs, which direct passengers to ground transportation services; and black signs, which lead to restrooms, telephones and other passenger amenities.
The signs were designed by Bureau Mijksenaar. Joanne Paternoster, Assistant Director/Customer Services and Standards for the Port Authority Aviation Department, has overseen the project, along with her dedicated staff.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.