Nudging passengers at La Guardia New York

We helped La Guardia Airport New York to understand rethinking passenger movement, how to nudge behaviours, reviewed wayfinding and used this to identify potential commercial opportunities at the new Terminal B in New York

Client: Vantage Airports

Location: New York, NY

Image credit: HOK

Image credit: HOK

The Brief

Our brief was to assess how the signage system would support passengers in navigating the new terminal and how it would work within a wider wayfinding system (including FIDs, other graphics & information). We were asked to bring our experience and expertise to brief the airport on how new digital technologies might support the wayfinding system.  Finally we were asked a specific question of how the wayfinding system might be used to influence passenger behaviour and keep passengers in the retail areas for longer before heading to the gates.

Project Challenge

There were several key challenges to this project. Firstly, understanding passenger behaviours, motivations and spotting pain points. Secondly, keeping passengers in retail, and lastly the challenge facing passengers will be making sense of the vertical circulation which is extensive and potentially confusing.

We ran a series of workshops with the airport team and key stakeholders to review our findings and the insights around technology and behaviour.  The workshops were an excellent approach that enabled the group to springboard from our initial ideas and develop further new solutions or ideas.

Keeping passengers in retail is a common question and one that goes far beyond wayfinding.  We approached the question by looking at exemplar passenger behaviours and what might motivate different people to behave as they do.  This allowed us to explore, with the airport team, on a range of potential interventions that would address these behaviours and therefore have a greater chance of success.


Our wayfinding recommendations had to compliment a positive passenger journey whilst facilitating relaxed movement through the airport. We made a series of recommendations that modified the wayfinding design including reassessing a number of decision points and identifying where there were information gaps in the passenger journey.

The signage had to conform to the Port Authority Wayfinding Guidance (which covers all New York airports). We made a series of recommendations where environmental graphics or other solutions could be used to supplement the signage, and to help particular problem areas were signage was hard to see or understand.