Nikki Sylianteng

Parking Sign Redesign

Problem: Parking signs are extremely confusing. It's a jumble of negatives and positives that leave you scratching you head as to what it means for you right now. The only questions in drivers’ minds are:

  1. Can I park here?
  2. For how long?

Approach: My strategy was to eliminate all vagueness for the driver and to remove all obstacles for departments of transportation. I did this by visualizing every hour of the week as blocks of time when you can and can’t park while keeping everything else the same — the colors, the form, money spent, printing process. My intention was to show how big of a difference a small but thoughtful change could make.

I prototyped the concept on the sign outside my apartment. People liked it, commenting "The Mayor should hire you!". Since then, I worked with drivers, city officials, traffic engineers, and the colorblind community to iterate on the design, its accessibility, and finally to encourage adoption. Along the way, I created a colorblind council, mailed drivers kits, made downloadable parking sign templates for citizens and cities, a map of reported confusing signs, and currently a parking sign generator.

Outcome: This conservative yet radical approach resonated with cities worldwide and have been piloted in the following cities:

  • Los Angeles
  • Brisbane - showed a 60% increase in compliance!
  • New Haven
  • Chicago
  • Boston
  • Washington, DC
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

This is an ongoing project. Get caught up on the latest at