The Evolution of Wayfinding Within Airports

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The process of navigating within airports has evolved over the years, with various technologies emerging. Historically, wayfinding began with static signage and airport staff members before progressing into digital signs, interactive kiosks and displays. In recent years, wayfinding has continued along its digital path through the use of indoor positioning technology, mobile applications, and even robot guides. The future of wayfinding will likely be heavily linked to further digital developments such as facial recognition and autonomous vehicle navigation. This paper delves into the history of interior wayfinding in airports, its present state, and the anticipated future. Key wayfinding technologies are discussed in detail with an emphasis on smartphone applications. Other considerations such as traveler stress, legal issues, pandemic safety, and language barriers are included.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages34
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-83211


  • airport mobility
  • interior navigation
  • wayfinding


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