Nikki Sylianteng

Parking Sign Redesign

Problem: After getting several $75+ parking tickets in LA, I wondered why parking signs had to be so confusing. You leave your spot never quite sure whether you parked correctly or not. By the time you find out, it's too late. You already got a ticket (boo! or not whew!). The problem is that signs are cluttered with unnecessary information -- the why -- when the important stuff -- the what -- is nowhere near clear. At the end of the day, drivers only need to know 2 things:

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

Approach: I eliminate all unnecessary information and visualized when you can and can’t park, and for how long. I also anticipated the DOT's challenges like bureaucracy and low budget so apart from the visuzlization, I kept everything except else the same — the colors, the material, the dimensions. My intention was to show how big of a difference a small but thoughtful change in mindset could make.

To find out whether it made sense to others, I posted it under a parking sign outside my window and left a sharpie and feedback box for people to write in. After several days, it said "This is awesome. The Mayor should hire you." Since then, I've worked with drivers, city officials, traffic engineers, and the colorblind community to iterate on the design and to encourage adoption. Along the way, I created a colorblind council, parking sign kits, downloadable templates, a map of confusing signs, and a parking sign generator.

Outcome: This new standard has shown a 60% improvement in compliance and has pilots in 9 cities worldwide:

  • Los Angeles (rolling out in 2019)
  • Brisbane (rolled out)
  • New Haven (rolled out)
  • Chicago
  • Boston and Somerville, MA
  • Washington, DC
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

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