How to use QR codes on street signs to modernize cities

Last updated:  July 29, 2021

Modern cities nowadays are implementing QR codes on street signs to improve governance, city operations, and become more environmentally sustainable.

Tech innovation is a vital part of good governance in local government. Technology plays a key role in public service; it facilitates access to information, provides convenience, and ensures the welfare of the citizens, tourists, and other stakeholders.

At present, many cities such as Abu Dhabi, Rio de Janeiro, and Ho Chi Minh used QR codes. These cities use technology to provide more guidance, news, and services to their citizenry.

QR code is not just limited to the dissemination of public information but it can be used to offer valuable content for the city’s known tourist destinations, to engage citizens, and many more.

The benefits of applying QR Codes on street signs to cities

1. Seamless information transfer

When you use QR codes on street signs, it is much easier to share valuable information with the public. Through a simple scan and connectivity, a person gets to access information in a matter of seconds.

A person who wanted to know about the historic site in your city will just scan a code to know more about the place.

2. Ease of use and convenience

QR code is easy to use by any person as they only need to scan it using a smartphone device or a QR code reader app. After scanning, they will be able to access the information they need. 

3. Accessible to your citizenry

Almost everyone owns a smartphone that is why QR code is accessible to the public. 

In 2020, global smartphone users markedly increased by 5.9 percent with a total number of 3.6 billion users to date. 

With that, QR code is one of the best low-cost mobile solutions to modernize cities and become more eco-friendly.

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4. Track, edit, and plan

Unlike the traditional print materials, you can track how many people interact with your QR code. Using a dynamic QR code, you can view real-time data such as:

  • Number of scans
  • The time or date when the QR codes were scanned
  • The location where the QR codes were scanned
  • Kind of device used to scan the QR codes (IOS or Android)

The data is important if you are looking into how many people visited a certain historic site or to check if your QR code is effective. This allows you to refine or improve your code for future implementation.

5. Integrate with your design elements

QR code is flexible to use even in print design without compromising the aesthetics of the material you are using.

You can add colors and a logo to let the public easily identify your QR code. 

Customize the eyes and patterns as well as add a frame to match your theme.

6. Withstands wear-and-tear

QR codes can resist damage caused by rain, scratch, or wear-and-tear. It can still function and be scan-able even for years.

Thus, using QR codes on street signs does not require high maintenance once you printed or deployed the code on the streets!

Ways to use QR codes on street signs

1. Make a one-stop information-hub

In city operations, putting people first in a new public sector customer service culture allows them to maximize their opportunities and choice, as individuals, parents, investors, employers, and employees. 

Using QR codes on street signs, you can store crucial information they can access instantly. You can display a PDF QR code that redirects the public to a repository of frequently-sought government information from government websites and e-government services. This way, they can download the file for future reference. 

You can also display a URL QR code that embeds a website of your ‘one-stop-shop info hub’ where the public can view different information and services they need.

Related: How to convert URL to QR Code in 6 steps

2. Disseminate information about city developments

As part of accountability and transparency, sharing information about the current city projects and other developments in the community is important.

To make information sharing fast and easy, you can create a social media account/s of your city. Then, convert it to a social media QR code

This QR code solution houses all your social media channels in one code. When scanned by the public, it will display all your social networking sites so they can easily follow or like your page for updates and news. 

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3. Discover info about tourist spots via QR code signage

Engage tourists and visitors by giving them information about the tourist spots in the city via QR code.

You can make an infographic and convert it to a JPEG QR code (under file QR code solution) to easily convey to them about the place’s history, etymology, and other interesting facts.

If you want to share video content of the tourist spots, convert it into a video QR code (under file QR code solution) so anyone who scans the code can access the video right away using a smartphone device.

4. Let the public know the designated smoking areas, parking lots, and more

Properly regulate smoking and other services by offering information to the public using QR codes.

You can share a Google Map QR code with the public where they can locate the designated smoking areas and parking areas in your city. The Google Map QR code embeds Google Maps data into a QR code. It allows the user to easily search for the nearest smoking area, parking area, or any other locations you want to include.

Moreover, for tourist spots such as parks and beaches, you can create a map and convert it to a JPEG QR code. Once scanned, tourists can access and download the map on their smartphones for easy viewing. 

5. QR code sign for business info of commercial establishments

Business establishments are also important stakeholders in a city. And people interact with them for varied purposes. That is why providing the public valuable information about these establishments via QR code is also part of public service.

Business owners can use QR code signs on streets to make wayfinding easy using Google Map QR code. People won’t have to search manually on the exact location as it is now easy to navigate and locate the establishment in a simple scan of the code.

How to create a QR Code on street signs?

There is a wide array of QR code solutions available in QRTiger where you can generate QR code signage for the street. Here are the steps:

  • Open qrcode-tiger.com
  • Select from the menu what type of QR code solution you need
  • Enter the necessary data in the field below the solution
  • Choose whether static or dynamic
  • Click “Generate QR Code” and customize your QR code
  • Choose multiple patterns, eyes, add a logo, and set colors to customize your QR code to make it look professional and scan-able
  • Download your QR code
  • Test if it works
  • Print and distribute your QR code

Best practices when creating QR Codes on street signs

Design your QR code wisely

Following the basic design rules is important when you create your QR codes on street signs. First, do not overdo the colors as it might affect the scan-ability. 

Then, consider what colors to use when designing a QR code but have an appropriate balance of color contrast. 

As a rule of thumb: the foreground color must be darker than the background color. 

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Add a call to action frame

Dispel the notion that the code itself is a call to action. It is not a call to action. You need to include a short phrase called CTA to encourage the public to scan it.

The public will not know what information is embedded in the QR code if you do not put a CTA. 

So guide the end-user on what to do with your QR code and what information they will expect. Put a call to action frame like “Scan me to know more about this street”.

Add a logo, icon, or image

To increase recall and scan rates, don’t forget to add a logo or icon to your QR code. When the public sees your logo or icon, they are more likely to remember the city’s name or the name of the tourist spot they have visited.

Test your QR code

Make sure that your QR code works when scanned. Avoid receiving complaints from the public by testing your QR code before printing or deploying it. 

Remember that people scan the QR code to help themselves know more about the site or to locate a place. Don’t frustrate them with a QR code that does not function.

Strategic placement

Make sure to place your QR code in a location that can be easily seen and without any clutter. 

It is recommended to place QR codes on street signs in visible areas located in pedestrian zones, parking lots, or public spaces where people are not on the wheel.

You can place it on walkways, bus stops, parks, and beaches where there is also high foot traffic. 

Related: 10 QR Code Best Practices

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Use-cases of cities implementing QR codes on street signs

Abu Dhabi City

Abu Dhabi City uses QR codes for various purposes.

The technology is implemented to provide tourists with historical and background information about the streets in the city. They can also read about the meaning of the street name. Interesting, isn’t it?

QR codes are also used in Abu Dhabi to locate the nearest points of interest and to inform the public of local events in the area.

The public can also send a QR code to their family and friends to locate them with ease instead of giving detailed directions. According to the city, the technology can also be used by emergency service providers, utilities, and delivery personnel to accurately locate a place.

Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam

The largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh pilots QR codes on street signs to provide information about the streets in the city.

When the code is scanned, it will display an image file containing detailed information about the street’s location, history, length, width, and a brief biography of famous people named for the street.

To cater to the tourists and for wider reach, the information embedded in the code is both in Vietnamese and English.

Rio de Janeiro in Brazil

Now, let’s head to Latin America.

Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil also installed about 30 QR codes at beaches, vistas, and historic sites across the city.

The initiative is geared to engage the growing foreign visitors in the city and allow them to learn about the city as they stroll around. 

When they scan the codes, they’ll be redirected to a website that houses information about the tourist spot, including maps, history, and highlights in Portuguese, Spanish, and English.

Richland County in South Carolina

As part of a new wayfinding campaign, the Richland County Regional Planning uses QR codes in its bike trail signage to guide users of the trail.

They can access information such as the distance in walking or cycling time to get to the nearby businesses, services, and parks located in the area.  The QR code signage also redirects scanners to Google Maps directions to easily locate a place. 

Gearing towards a digital city using QR codes on street signs

It’s high time to transition to modern technology such as QR codes to cater to the needs of different stakeholders in the city.

QR code technology is a scalable way to inform and engage citizens and tourists while they are in your city.

For more information about the various QR code solutions, you can create QR codes on street signs, contact QRTiger today!

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