Tools CHIPS' recommended identity principles

CHIPS' recommended identity principles
CHIPS recommended
Tool provider
CHIPS consortium Joris Van Damme
Readability tool main characteristics
CHIPS' recommended identity principles
Does the readability tool encompass a certain location?
To whom is the tool primarily directed?
Potential user (anyone who might use the mobility product)
Readability tool branding strategy
Is the tool related to
Cycle highway
Name of cycle highway
United cycle highways of Europe
Central brand colors
2 brand colors
Brand color 1
Brand color 2
Is this cycle highway related to a branded network of cycle highways?
Name of branded network of cycle highways
United Cycle Highways of Europe

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Readability tool description
Readability tool description

Identity questions are not only relevant when you want to improve the wayfinding and promote your cycle highway on the mobility market. Identity is already an issue in the early planning stages:

  • How will you call your first idea? What will be the title of your feasibility study?
  • How will you celebrate the realization of the first piece of cycle infrastructure?
  • How will you communicate the project towards the future users? 

The cycle highway you want to realize may have a local (descriptive) name referring to a river, an old railway road, a person,...  But it's also important to look forward and think about the way you want to promote this and similar mobility products in the future. How will you brand other cycle highways in the region? How will you explain that they all belong to the same family? And how will  new potential users get in touch with these family-members? The CHIPS consortium advises to opt for a more future proof network-identity on a higher scale (see further). By placing your cycle highway under a bigger umbrella, you create diverse economies of scale. The bigger the family, the more chance that new potential users will get in touch with it. Browse the readability toolbox to find different examples of network-identity in Belgium, Denmark, London, The Netherlands, Germany,... 

Cycle highway codes and colour strategy  

The CHIPS-consortium recommends to establish a future proof network-identity that makes use of a:

  • letter + number code (max 3 digits) on the largest scale possible (preferably a C+number on a European scale).

    - The larger the identity-scale, the more economies of scale you create. More standardization will lead to an increased learnability by the potential user and creates much more exposure of the product. Not only (offline) along the cycling infrastructure, but also f.i. in diverse digital touchpoints like maps, digital rout planning devices etc. The higher the scale, the more chance that diverse route planning devices like googlemaps will integrate it. And this will increase the chance that potential users will the mobility product.

    - The letter "c" in the c-code can refer to the English term "cycle (super)highway", the Danish "cykelstier" or to the more general term "cyclostrada" that goes back to the ancient Greek word "κύκλος" that is at the origin of the word "cycle". The letter "C" has also some simple lay-out advantages and can easily refer to the cycling wheel, a road or a tunnel that symbolizes a conflict free crossing. If all new starting regions use c-codes, we will achieve a network-identity on a European scale. This big scale will lead to a lot of economies of scale (increased learnability and exposure, improved integration in diverse touchpoints like maps, digital rout planning devices etc.)

    - The coding system can also be used to differentiate tangential connections (ring-structure) and radial connections (A to B connections f.i. form a village to a bigger city centre).  In Flanders, a letter "R" is added in the code to refer to the ring-structure of tangential connections. Browse the readability toolbox to learn more about name giving.
  • one central brand colour for the cycle highway-network (and please mind the contrast).

    A central colour improves the consequent branding of the cycle highway network on a higher scale (region, state or more international). The brand colour needs to have a good contrast with (1)​​​​​​ the second contrasting brand colour and the (2) most common colours of the surface of the cycle infrastructure. If the surface material is f.i. red asphalt, the use of a red brand colour limits the possibilities to use the brand colour on the surface.  See readability tools on the pavement in the readability toolbox. For more information on colour contrast, we refer to the guidelines of Arthur and Passinie (1992). 

The code-logo strategy in Belgium and Denmark

In Belgium (the five provinces of Flanders) and Denmark (region of Copenhagen) the future cycle highways have established a network-identity. They all have a letter+number code. Similar cycle highway codes are also used in London (CS-number), The Netherlands (F-number) or Germany (RS-number). But unlike these last examples, the F-codes in Flanders and the C-codes in the region of Copenhagen are at the same time designed as a logo with a specific form and brand colour (see pictures).  The central brand colour in Flanders and Denmark is respectively blue and orange. The combination of the cycle highway code with a specific logo for the cycle highway network creates a strong, small and easy recognizable icon that can be integrated in:

  • diverse wayfinding tools for cyclists (marking on the ground, signposts,...)
  • signposting systems of other mobility products (f.i. for cars, public transport,,...)
  • diverse (digital) maps, brochures, posters,...
  • important touchpoints like route planning devices,...

To learn more about this code-logo strategy, browse the readability toolbox.

Assess the impact on different readability tools 

In order to take a good decision on the network-identity for your (future) cycle highways, it is important to look at the consequences of your choice on different kinds of readability tools. Some tools will help you to improve wayfinding for new users. Other tools will enhance the exposure towards potential users. The cycle highway identity (code, colour brand, logo) should consequently be integrated in signposts along the cycle highway. Different examples  can be found in the playlists around wayfinding and exposure.  

  • Future proof branding principles based on lessons learned and research in Danmark, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.
  • This strategy of standardisation creates strong economies of scale: improved learnability, less costs for communication and promotion, more opportunities for integration in diverse digital touchpoints (f.i. Googlemaps), etc.
  • Excellent framework for regional collaboration with different stakeholders.
  • Standardization helps to improve and maximize the usability of the cycle highway product.
  • Difficult to achieve because local stakeholders might follow a more local logic and follow local intersts.
  • Some regions have already taken decisions and have invested in a different branding strategy.
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