We rolled out the first of about 85 new wayfinding signs in the Downtown area earlier this year.
The new signs provide riders with more information than ever before: most of them have at least one (some have two) information panels that show how frequent the bus will serve that particular stop and the operating times of those buses. Other signs have the information panels, but also feature a black-and-white digital display that shows realtime bus GPS information and generally work the same way several third-party mobile apps or our TrueTime website does.
There also are signs that have what we call "lollipops."
Like in the picture above (that's actually a scaled-down prototype we have in our office), the lollipop is a round sign at the top of the pole with a letter inside.
We've had several riders ask: "What's up with the letter at the top of the signs?"
The letter corresponds with our station maps, which group together bus routes that pick up at the same location. Although the route you're looking for most likely picks up at a few different places Downtown, the location displayed on the map corresponds with the closest stop to the station.
For example, if you're looking at the station map at the Wood Street Station, and you're trying to get to the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Point Breeze, you'd look at the map under "Neighborhoods," locate Point Breeze, and see that Point Breeze corresponds with the letter "A" on the map. In this case, "A" is just up the street at Sixth and Wood.
Once you arrive at Sixth and Wood, you'll know you're in the right location because of the large "A" at the top of the sign.
You can then look for route information and bus frequency on the panel at the stop.
As you might have guessed, the lollipops are likely more helpful for riders who are unfamiliar with the system or are visiting Pittsburgh and are not regular Port Authority riders.
It's much easier for a doorman or concierge at a Downtown hotel to tell a guest to "go to the X at the end of the street" to find the bus that'll take them to their destination than to know every bus route or be familiar with every stop.