The Background
The Airlanes
The Traffic Environment
The Navigation


The way in which any traveling person (pedestrian, cyclist, motorist or pilot) perceives his/her surrounding environment is influenced by his/her motion and speed, and this perception differs from a static observation of that same environment. This conclusion sounds natural and logical, but is the core of any common design system.
Leroi-Gourhan (1964/65) differentiates two kinds of perception:
A dynamic observation (driver), which collects information of an environment while passing through it, and a static one, which draws rising circles around a viewers position (pedestrian).

Dynamically collecting visual information, a driver/pilot must separate necessary and motion relevant details from those only important for local orientation. Anybody's visual memory of a certain space is dependent on the speed at which one passes through the space. The faster (and therefore further) you travel the more local information you will ignore due to the focus on motion relevant observations.

The Elements

On the one hand every road-user needs to understand the entire traffic situation and integrate into it while on the other he/she needs to recognize his/her environment and navigate between two locations. Therefore, the visual language for traffic is divided into two sections: traffic related design and navigation related design.

Traffic Design defines visual patterns which organize and structure traffic.
These are signs which connote traffic, direction, and danger like lines or patterns on the street, concrete structures, trees, curb stones, traffic signs, or lights.

Navigation Design implies geographical orientation.
The German Ministry for Traffic,defines this as the ability to locate one's destination and recognizing the local area, as well as directing the traffic system on immediate routes, and distributing the entire traffic over the complete road system.

Designing a 3D-Motion Graphical User Interface

The interface design of ZGA communicates both traffic and navigation information. Chronologically, the display (Heads-up Display) visualizes the flight from embarkation to destination:
With his onboard navigation tools the pilot maps his route to his final destination, merges into traffic, follows his route, and finally reaches his parking site safely.

The basic display functions in detail:

The organization of traffic:
  • the pattern of the streets (lanes, curves, merging)
  • environment (distance, lanes, free zones)
  • speed
  • traffic signs
  • danger indication, corrective measures
  • flight behavior control
The navigation:
  • system for navigation
    (mapping, building preview, bookmarking)
  • local and global (destination) mapping
  • individualized mobility (bookmarks)

zeroG-Autobahnlast updated 09/2006

mailto: Christian Frey @