The Lyon Metro map (March 2012, 4 stars) on the platform at Croix-Paquet station — reputedly the steepest Metro station in the world, with a 17 percent grade! Although nominally part of Lyon’s Metro system, the “C” Line is really a refurbished rack-and-pinion funicular, with the earliest trains running as far back as 1891.
Submission — Official Map: Bus and Ferry Network of the Faroe Islands
Submitted by Helgi Waag, who says:
The entire bus and ferry system of the Faroe Islands. The online version is interactive. Hubs are in boxes and sea routes in blue.
The Faroe Islands — a remote island nation under Denmark’s sovereignty located about halfway between Norway and Iceland — isn’t necessarily somewhere you associate with a bustling and modern transportation network, but here it is!
This map shows the Bygdaleiðir, or “village buses”, which connect the cities and towns that are accessible to each other by road (including some that travel through undersea tunnels), and the all-important ferry routes between the islands. The Number 7 route shown on the map between the capital, Tórshavn, and the southern island of Suðuroy is a two-hour journey in good weather.
Not shown are the local buses — or Bussleiðin — in Tórshavn, which are operated by the city council, not the Strandfaraskip Landsins company. Interestingly, these buses are completely completely free of charge, an initiative introduced in 2007 to encourage people to use public transportation instead of driving their cars.
The map itself is a nicely stylised version of the archipelago, and information is presented nice and clearly. Nice bright route colours, too. My only complaint is that the interactive Flash version of the map on the website is the only version of the map available. Not all devices (especially mobile devices!) support Flash, so there should be an alternate image or PDF version easily available for those users.
Our rating: Nice work from an unexpected location. Three stars.
(Source: Official Strandfaraskip Landsins website)
Submission: Global Subway Spectrum
Submitted by Nick Rougeux, who says:
I’ve been following your blog for a little while now and have really enjoyed your posts on transit maps — both familiar and completely new to me. I’ve recently become interested in different ways of looking at maps from a data standpoint. I’ve attached a screenshot of a project I just released that I thought you or your readers may enjoy. It’s not a map or diagram but it’s a data visualization based on the colors used in all the official rapid transit diagrams from around the world and where they are on a global spectrum of colors.
Transit Maps says:
Quite simply, this is phenomenal work. Seeing how route colours are used by transit maps around the world is absolutely fascinating, and the number of ways that Nick presents the data is astounding. As a designer, I can see that this could be an invaluable tool for creating a colour palette for maps, although I wish that the charts included the RGB or Hex values for each colour for easy reference. I could easily lose track of time exploring this!
(Source: Nick’s Global Subway Spectrum website)
I see you, new visitors from Dooce! Welcome to Transit Maps: I hope you enjoy the site! If you’re looking for something specific, the best way to find things is by searching Tumblr tags.
Copy and paste the URL syntax above and add what you’re after to the end of it. If it’s a multi-word search term, use hyphens between the words (e.g., “New York” would become “new-york”). I tag city names, states, countries, mode of travel and more pretty comprehensively: this page gives some good tags to start out with. Give it a try!
Official Future Map: Los Angeles Metro Rail
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency released a “under construction” map yesterday, showing all the lines that are planned for the near future: Expo Line Phase 2, Gold Line Foothill Extension, the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Purple Line Extension and the ambitious downtown Regional Connector.
Overall, the map fits quite well into the existing LA Metro design aesthetic, although the crowded downtown area is now starting to make the station labelling look a little cramped and messy. It also presents a much larger problem — pointed out to me by Sam Huddy — in that its depiction of the Regional Connector is seriously flawed.
As seen in the second picture above, the Connector will cross the Red and Purple Lines after the 7th Street/Metro Center station and have a stop at 2nd Place/Hope — on the west side of the existing Red/Purple tracks. However, the new map chooses to place the 2nd Place/Hope station on the east side of those tracks, and has the entire Connector parallel to them, instead of showing the crossings.
A lot of this comes down to the limited space available in this part of the map, and the Silver Line is already taking up the available space on the west side of the Red/Purple Lines. However, while this is a diagrammatic map, it’s still hugely important that stations are placed in the correct positions relative to each other. Really, the central part of the map should have been completely redesigned to accommodate the Connector in its correct position, rather than simply tacking it on to the existing map.
Once the Connector is completed, it seems likely that service patterns on Metro rail will change, with the Gold, Blue and Expo lines drastically reconfigured — so there’s a chance this somewhat lazy error will get fixed then.
(Source: LA Metro website — “Under Construction Map” link)
Historical Map: National Railways of Zimbabwe, c. 1985
A pretty basic two-colour map of the (then newly-independent) Zimbabwe’s rail network produced by the government’s Land Survey Office. Once you look past the eye-searing red ink and “transportation” clip art, there’s a couple of interesting things on the map.
Firstly, the map actually does a pretty good job of showing how Zimbabwe’s rail network fits in with other connecting rail services in southern Africa. Secondly, it shows an interesting colonial oddity: the Zimbabwe National Railway actually runs all the way through Botswana to Mafeking, South Africa (the bottom left quarter of the map). This dates back to 1911, when Rhodesia Railways was granted a special agreement to preserve its rights of access under the Tati Concessions Land Act — basically a huge mineral rights land grab by a private company.
Much of the network shown here is still in use today, but due to the high price of imported diesel fuel in the impoverished nation, Zimbabwe has been forced to utilise old steam trains: coal is plentiful and much cheaper.
Official Map: RENFE Cercanías Madrid Commuter Rail
Following on my review of Madrid’s old-is-new Metro Map (June 2013, 3.5 stars), I’ve had quite a few requests for Madrid’s commuter rail map, operated by the state-owned RENFE rail company — so here it is!
The map is a very solid effort, with unusual but effective station markers: small squares that “cut through” the route lines. The overall design is very angular, with no smoothing of the route lines or the zone boundaries that sit behind the map. It certainly helps give the map its own unique look, although I find it a little too harsh.
One negative is the ugly route designations — the bold “C” (perhaps trying to look somewhat like the Cercanías logo) next to a condensed numeral just looks odd and the placement of some of them seems arbitrary and/or cramped.
Finally, the depiction of zones on a transit map is almost always problematic: here, the harshly-angled and oddly-shaped grey areas dominate the map far too much, giving it a zebra-like appearance. The zones also require far too many labels, liberally sprinkled just about everywhere.
Our rating: Informational, with a look all of its own, but let down by a few jarring elements. Solid overall. Three stars.
(Source: Official RENFE website)
File Under Awesome: London Tube Map Recreated With Lego Bricks
Sent my way by just about everyone this morning, this Lego map is one of five located at Tube stations across London as another part of the Tube’s 150th birthday celebrations. Each map shows the Tube at a different stage of development from the 1920s right through to the version shown here: a near-future map for 2020.
Painstakingly assembled from thousands of Lego bricks, the map looks great, although Neil Bennett from Digital Arts notes that its actual usefulness is pretty limited:
“… in the few moments we were there, tourists and travellers attempted to use the map to navigate their way across London and soon wandered off in search of a real map looking confused. Others were more impressed, and joined us in snapping photos of the map.”
Seeing as the maps are more art than information design, I don’t really see this as a huge problem, myself. The maps will remain on display at King’s Cross (this map), South Kensington, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, and Stratford stations over the summer, and then will be transferred to the London Transport Museum.
Historical Map: Indicateur d’Itinéraires, Paris, c. 2003
An old-school interactive Metro map in Paris. Simply press one of the 360 or so buttons underneath the map, and a path lights up from your current location to your chosen destination. Who needs a fancy touch screen kiosk? I particularly like the way that the furtherest reaches of the RER lines are compressed into diagrammatic form to allow the centre of Paris to be shown as large as possible.
This particular example is still in use, despite it being around ten years out of date: the extension of Ligne 14 from Madeleine to St. Lazare (which opened in December 2003) is shown as being under construction.
(Source: Hervé Platteaux/Flickr)