Official Map: New York/New Jersey Regional Transit Diagram for 2014
Hot off the presses via New Jersey Transit’s Twitter account, here’s a first look at a new regional transit map that (finally!) combines New Jersey Transit rail, PATH rail and the New York Subway onto one map to “facilitate ease of travel between all three systems”.
It appears to be heavily based off the Massimo Vignelli “Weekender” diagram, although I don’t know if Vignelli himself (or his studio) was actually involved in the design of this diagram. I’ll try and track down a PDF of the actual map to do a full review.
Here’s a question from Didier that’s a little outside the normal boundaries of this blog, but I think I’ve got a couple of ideas on the subject…
Hi Cam, What is the best way to hang a map on a wall? I don’t really want to frame it, but I don’t think pins would be/look great. How do you hang maps on your walls? Thanks and your work is amazing.
Transit Maps says:
Thanks for the kind words, Didier! Framing a map always looks awesome, but it can get expensive quickly, especially if you’re including a matte or framing a large piece. You’re also right that pins aren’t the nicest way to attach a map to a wall: they put holes in the paper and look pretty ugly, too.
If you’re able to use screws in your walls (if you’re renting, you may or may not be able to do this, depending on your lease/landlord), then I highly recommend that you head to IKEA and pick up a pack of Digitnet curtain wire. It’s basically 16 feet (5 metres) of strong wire that you can cut to the required length and then secure to your wall with the supplied fittings. It’s meant to hold up lightweight curtains, so it’s definitely more than strong enough to support a few posters. Then, just get some nice clips that you can hang over the wire to hang your maps from. The image above shows this setup in my house: it works perfectly, looks great, and only takes about 15 minutes to set up.
(For those who are wondering, the poster is one of Andrew “Vanshnookenraggen” Lynch’s fantastic New York Subway Line maps.)
If you can’t use screws, then you’ll need to find a way to secure the poster to the wall that doesn’t show from the front: this could be adhesive strips, Blu-Tack, double-sided tape, or even the old-fashioned loop of packing tape. If you do use one of these, then I strongly advise that you first apply a strip of packing tape to each corner of the back of your poster first. This will both strengthen the poster and protect it from any residue left behind by the adhesion method.
Any other map-mounting ideas?
Submission – Unofficial/Future Map: Long Island Rail Road by Anthony Denaro
Submitted by Anthony, who says:
Here’s my map of Off-Peak (weekdays, and nights) and Weekends Long Island Rail Road Service.
This map shows service diagrammatically, de-emphasizing geography for clarity of branch services and transfers, introduces a grouping color coding system for branches, and improves legibility of the system. The LIRR current map lacks both routing and geographic info – there’s no sense of connecting roads and services and no sense of which branch’s trains stop at which station – failing at each of the things that most transit maps try to resolve at least one of.
This map shows the future expansion to Grand Central Terminal which potentially will allow all branches to have direct access to both Penn and GCT – greatly changing the service patterns of the entire system. This could be a tool to better visualize how LIRR service will be affected when that happens. There’s yet been no indication of just what the service patterns will be so I choose just to split Penn Station and GCT-bound lines for now.
Love to hear your take on it.
Transit Maps says:
While I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the information shown (not being at all familiar with the operations of the LIRR), I can say that this map looks absolutely gorgeous. Certainly better than the official map, which just uses the standard MTA subway map style to lesser effect.
I really like the stylish usage of 30/60-degree angles: it looks great, suits the shape of Long Island itself, and allows all the labels to be set horizontally, even along the long stretches of the Babylon and Montauk branches. Labelling like this would be trickier on a conventional 45-degree diagram, as these branches would run horizontally across the map. Skillfully and elegantly done.
The colour palette is also very nice: a step back from the bright primaries often used on transit maps, giving the map a nicely understated, refined feeling. The zone information is also deftly handled: subsidiary to the main route information, but easily found when needed.
I’m not so thrilled with the treatment of the coastline: it seems overly detailed in some parts, resulting in a distracting “stepped” appearance in some parts, especially along the Atlantic coastline at the bottom of the map. It’s not bad, per se, it just seems to clash a little with the elegant simplicity of the route lines.
The station labels from Carle Place to Bethpage in the middle of the map seem to be a little close to the route lines – perhaps Anthony has moved them inadvertently, as most other labels seem to be fine. As readers of this blog know, I’m a big stickler for accurate and consistent placement of labels!
Finally, I’m not really sure that a guide to service frequency is of much use when the two categories are "one or more trains an hour" and "fewer than one train an hour". How many trains an hour could that be for the former? Two, three… more? And are you waiting an hour and a half between trains in the latter category, or even longer? It seems to me that you’d still have to consult a timetable to ensure that you caught your train in any case. I guess it works to give a general idea that some branches have less frequent service… any LIRR riders want to weigh in on this?
Our rating: Love the layout and design of the route lines, not so keen on the underlying geographical treatment. Still pretty darn good. Three-and-a-half stars.
For more detailed information on this map, please visit Anthony’s Tumblr.
Historical Map: Tyne and Wear Metro, 1981
A beautiful early map for this system, clearly showing how much of it was planned from the start. Apart from a few name changes (the proposed “Old Fold” station became Gateshead Stadium, for example), this is recognisably the same map that existed as far into the future as the year 2000, when the proposed extension to Sunderland made its appearance.
The outlined route lines to show proposed/future extensions work wonderfully well, making an excellent contrast to the existing coloured routes. The approach is even carried through to outlining the names of the proposed stations — a lovely and deft design touch.
Another interesting feature is how small and low in the visual hierarchy the ferry across the River Tyne is: in later maps, the ferry symbol has become very large and overpowering.
Our rating: The original and the best. Simple, stylish, uncluttered design that sets out a clear vision for the future. Four stars.
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Interstates as Subway Map
US Routes as Subway Map
Boston Rapid Transit and Bus Routes
Boston Rapid Transit Routes (no buses)
Amtrak Passenger Routes as Subway Map
International E-Roads of Europe
TGV Routes of France
Rail Transit of Portland, Oregon
Passenger Rail of Portland 1915 - 1943 - 2015
Plans for the New York Subway, 1920
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Speaking of working out problems on grid paper, here’s one I’ve just done as I attempt to make sense of the routing of Interstates and U.S. Highways around Indianapolis. This was making no sense at all on the computer: I worked out an approach in half an hour on paper.
Unofficial Map: Hand-Drawn Danish InterCity Train Network
Submitted by Halid Karpović, who says:
It’s Halid again, who’s already submitted you the transit diagram of Sarajevo. This time, I’ve got something I’ve made myself.
When I was on vacation in Denmark a while ago, I got a leaflet with timetables of the Danish InterCity lines, operated by DSB. Then, I took a pencil and four sheets of paper and drew a transit diagram with its help. Et voilà, this is the result! I’d be happy to know what you think about it!
Transit Maps says:
This is pretty neat, Halid! I definitely use grid paper and a pen when I have a problematic area of a map to solve, and it’s also a great way to sketch out concepts before getting into the nitty-gritty computer-aided design part of the work.
Conceptually, this seems to follow much the same general layout that can be found in the DSB timetables, although you’ve enhanced the usefulness quite a lot by separating the routes out into their own numbered route lines and showing all the stations along the way.
About the only bit that doesn’t quite work is the area around Fredericia and Vejle: I’d straighten the kink in your station marker for Fredericia out and place the station marker for Vejle at a 45-degree angle, halfway through the 90-degree turn that the northwards routes take. This would eliminate that awkward 90-degree/45-degree combination curve you’ve got going on. But that’s the big advantage of sketching it out like this: now you can be fully aware of that problem area and solve it easily when it comes to final computer layout.
The only other comment I have is that the introduction of some 45-degree angles in the coastline might soften the shapes up a little: the rigid 90-degree-only shapes can look a little harsh.
Fantasy Map: Airbus A380 Network as a Subway Map
Here’s a map that’s doing the social media rounds today — a subway map-style representation of Airbus A380 routes.
All I can say is: meh.
Remember when air travel was stylish and cool? Personally, I love airline route maps, with their arc-like routes branching out all across the globe: it helps keep a sense of wonder about the vast distances we travel, high above the earth.
Instead, here we are: on the subway. Under the city, running through dark, noisy tunnels, packed in like sardines (actually, that last part holds true for air travel as well these days!). It’s a miserable metaphor for what’s meant to be the future of air travel, and it doesn’t help that the map is terribly executed as well. The continents are reduced to shapeless grey blobs (South America isn’t even shown at all!), while, bizarrely, a river runs through the oceans. I guess it’s meant to make it look more “transit mappy”, but it’s just asinine.
And then there’s the completely inconsistent application of station symbols — circles, rectangles and dots just plonked down anywhere. Why does Guangzhou have an interchange symbol when it doesn’t actually interchange with anything?
Our rating: A poor execution of an awful concept. You can’t tell me this wouldn’t look a hundred times more magnificent and exciting if it was a traditional air route map. Half a star.
(Source: Airbus’ Facebook page)