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MBTA prepares to do some serious name-dropping

Tufts Medical Center rebranding means signs must change

Tufts Medical Center dropped the 'New England' from its name last month. Now, the MBTA's website and all the Orange Line signs, maps, and announcements must be altered to reflect that change. Tufts Medical Center dropped the "New England" from its name last month. Now, the MBTA's website and all the Orange Line signs, maps, and announcements must be altered to reflect that change. (George Rizer/Globe Staff)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Jeffrey Krasner
Globe Staff / April 26, 2008

Taking "New England" out of the name of Tufts-New England Medical Center last month was the easy part.

But the hospital's rebranding will be more difficult for the MBTA, which has to make the name change at its New England Medical Center stop on the Orange Line. In addition to the signs at the station, the T has to make changes on thousands of signs at each of the transit system's stations, as well as on printed maps, recorded announcements, and websites.

"It cannot be done overnight. It's a lengthy process," said Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the T.

It's also expensive. Pesaturo said the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is asking Tufts Medical Center to "partner with us" in footing the bill for all the changes. There isn't an estimate of the cost yet, he said.

A similar T station name change was needed about a year and a half ago, after the Institute of Contemporary Art moved from the Back Bay to the South Boston waterfront. The Green Line station near the arts center had been called Hynes/ICA. The process of eliminating "ICA" references took about a year, Pesaturo said.

"This is a little more complicated," he said of the New England Medical Center stop. "For Hynes/ICA, the name change was really more of a name reduction, and only involved eliminating or obscuring three letters. The Orange Line revision, however, entails substituting one name for another."

While the T stop "New England" reference may puzzle some commuters for awhile, Tufts Medical Center actually removed "New England" from its name in an effort to eliminate confusion. It has strengthened its ties to Tufts University School of Medicine, and wants to put more emphasis on the relationship. It is spending an undisclosed amount of money on signs to identify and tie together the medical center, Floating Hospital for Children, Tufts University School of Medicine, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, and the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

"We look forward to partnering with the MBTA on updating the name of the Orange Line T station," said Brooke Tyson Hynes, a spokeswoman for Tufts Medical Center. About 1,800 medical center employees buy MBTA transit passes each month through the hospital.

An ICA spokeswoman said the museum did not pay for any sign changes on the T when it left the Back Bay.

Jeffrey Krasner can be reached at krasner@globe.com.

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