Paris (hooly News) – Since the beginning of deconfinement, the station floors have been transformed into a treasure hunt, with circles, crosses, sticks and rafters which guide travelers by preventing them from getting too close to each other other.
"What we wanted was to give a very simple vocabulary, with very simple signs, that works in our 3,030 stations," sums up Carole Tabourot, director of customer experience at SNCF Gares & Connexions.
The SNCF, like the other transport operators, has long argued that the wearing of masks will allow the rules of distancing to be overcome on board trains and in stations.
But Prime Minister Edouard Philippe showered his hopes, announcing on April 28 how France would be deconfigured from May 11: with a mandatory distance in public transport, in addition to the mandatory mask.
SNCF Gares & Connexions immediately set up a shock brigade with the architecture firm house Arep to invent crisis signage, intended to be deployed in boarding areas, on platforms, under display panels, in front shops and vending machines …
In 48 hours flat, and in telework. A little revolution when you are used to talking in front of plans spread out on tables, says Isabelle Le Saux, responsible for the "designlab" of Arep, a participative structure intended to rethink station spaces, which has been put to use.
"It had to be very intuitive. We defined a very, very simple vocabulary with this circle which makes it possible to say" I am waiting here ", this cross which indicates what is no longer in use today, this bar which makes stop and the arrows / rafters to circulate ", explains this design specialist.
"These four signs combined with each other make it possible to respond to the different use cases", she adds: "" I land there "," I move "… The circle with the line for" I pose there and I wait until a place becomes available in front of the queue ", and also the lines not to cross".
– "The idea is to accompany" –
"It's a bit like a Lego," laughs Carole Tabourot.
His team added a few pictograms to designate a train, a ticket office, or to show that you have to press your elbow on an elevator button. There are also some reassuring little characters that can be added if necessary.
Station managers have received "physical distance kits", small catalogs explaining how to deploy this signage on site, with the spacing to be respected, technical constraints, the various stickers offered, etc.
They had to order the tens of thousands of anti-slip adhesives needed before putting them on. The specifications include 1.5 meters between each symbol.
For example, it took a week to equip the Gare de Lyon in Paris, says its director Priscille Garcin.
"What took the longest was the docks" where the stickers weren't enough, she said. "We went to get a service provider who does markings on the roads so that it is more efficient. On the docks, it's really long-lasting paint!"
"One of the epidemiologists who accompanied us told us that the fact of containing the disease in deconfinement will also play on the balance between the constraint imposed by this epidemic and social acceptance", notes Carole Tabourot.
Hence the choice of dominant white in crisis signage, the absence of strong colors. "The idea is to support," adds Isabelle Le Saux.
Above all, no prohibited signs, so as not to stress people. In the field, SNCF agents can in any case hand over lost travelers in the direction of the arrows drawn on the ground.
Were there any failures? "But surely!" Replies Mme Tabourot. "Surely, and we will rectify it with use."
SNCF Gares & Connexions promises continuous monitoring, especially as station traffic is gradually picking up.