When completed, the $200-300 million Deerfoot Meadows shopping complex in southeast Calgary will be one of the largest in Canada and with up to 1.4 million sq ft of retail space, including IKEA, the popular Swedish furniture store, among its prestigious tenants. The design concept envisages a regional-scale open-air retail development with a diversity of retail opportunities, high-quality design and visual appeal both for neighboring communities and “high-speed travelers on the adjacent expressways.”
ARA Engineering of Calgary needed to design the direction signing—an important aspect particularly for a new (and complex) interchange serving a regional center and to satisfy the developer’s goal of good guidance for the center’s patrons especially given that the center is likely to attract a lot of long-distance customers who could be unfamiliar with the area.
ARA decided to investigate the computer generation option for the 15 signs of varying complexity that were required. The software program they chose was GuidSIGN, developed by Transoft Solutions of Richmond, B.C., the developers of AutoTURN, a vehicle-turn simulation software, to quickly and effectively develop signing options and concepts. GuidSIGN automates the sign design process using standard templates that can be modified to various agency requirements.
Darcy Taylor, ARA’s director for the project, said, “With virtually no learning curve, our drafters could easily produce a variety of signing concepts in a matter of minutes.”