Destination Cleveland Presents Wayfinding & Connectivity Plans

March 18, 2014

Tourism Group to Enhance Cleveland as a Destination

CLEVELAND (March 18, 2014) - To continue capitalizing on the nearly $3 billion in travel and tourism infrastructure development, Destination Cleveland, the convention and visitors bureau for Greater Cleveland, presented wayfinding and connectivity plans, as well as examples of these initiatives, at today's annual meeting.

The plans focus on the ways Cleveland can (1) improve how visitors navigate the city and (2) ensure the pathways that take visitors from one place to the next are beautified.

"Research shows that the visitor experience is guided by more than just its attractions," David Gilbert, President & CEO of Destination Cleveland, said. "It's critical that Destination Cleveland see the city through the eyes of a visitor and make enhancements and improvements to the total visitor experience."

Destination Cleveland partnered with Applied Wayfinding Information Design on creating the plans announced today. Applied is an industry-leading consulting firm specializing in wayfinding treatments such as city sign systems, exhibitions, online communications and transport-journey planning. Similar to their work in New York, Dublin, London and Vancouver, the firm conducted in-depth, visitor-related legibility and wayfinding research in Cleveland.


"Wayfinding portrays how a visitor orients to other people and locations and then navigates between them using tools such as mapping, directional information, signage, schedules, timetables and more," Hannah Belsito, Director of Destination Development and Community Affairs, said.

At today's meeting, Destination Cleveland presented The Seamless Cleveland Wayfinding Master Plan, which proposes how the city can be joined together into a seamless system that supports visitors along their journey. Some of the recommendations included:

  • Use human-scale detail when creating walking maps

  • Add on-street digital signs that can be used to highlight events and real-time offers

  • Integrate on-street signage with bicycle routes, trails and initiatives like bike sharing

  • Provide consistent signage and planning information to make the experience simpler

  • Produce and manage a holistic system that can be used by the City of Cleveland, Downtown

    Cleveland Alliance, RTA, University Circle Inc. and others


Additionally, Applied's in-depth research concluded that connectivity from one area to another is just as important when creating a seamless visitor experience.

"Connectivity beautifies the pathways that take visitors from one place to the next through lighting enhancements, street furniture, public art and planters or added greenery," Belsito said.

Destination Cleveland teamed with LAND Studio, a local urban design firm that works to improve public spaces, on some of the following recommendations:

  • Animating streetscapes

  • Providing new types of public spaces

  • Enhancing lighting

  • Building on the momentum of current developments

Together, Destination Cleveland and LAND are working on the installment of the first connectivity beautification project featuring planters for greenery, a parkmobile, street & sidewalk graphics and murals. The project will be completed in summer 2014 at the corner of East 4th and Prospect. Additional partnership support is being provided by Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation, Medical Mutual, Huntington Bank and Sherwin-Williams.


The next phase of these projects will include the development of the Wayfinding Design Manual, which will outline one standard set of rules for everyone in the community to follow when implementing any kind of wayfinding system.

"Cleveland does an incredible job of building the buildings that make up our physical infrastructure," Belsito said. "The critical next step is to ensure these developments are connected and viewed as one seamless, positive visitor experience."


The importance of focusing on wayfinding was a result of research conducted during the Destination Cleveland Travel and Tourism Summit. In November 2011, Destination Cleveland collaborated with several community partners to host more than 200 travel and tourism leaders.

During the summit, the group defined the visitor-related destination development priorities for the next five years. One of the six priorities identified was connectivity and wayfinding for visitors. The main takeaway showed that connected and predictable wayfinding for typical multi-modal journeys, from driving to walking to biking to transit, empowers residents and visitors to explore the city.

The importance of the on-street experience was a result of the perception research conducted with visitors and resident. Those studies indicated that Cleveland suffers from poor perceptions of being clean, safe and welcoming. However, Destination Cleveland learned that lighting, public art, greenery and improved conditions of roads and sidewalks improves perceptions of cities as being clean, safe and welcoming.

ABOUT Destination Cleveland: Destination Cleveland is Cleveland's convention and visitors bureau. This private non-profit organization's mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. Cleveland welcomes nearly 16 million visitors annually. For more information, visit

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