Wonderfully immersive visual history of transit in San Francisco. As the blurb on the site says:
The history of San Francisco’s transit system can be traced back as far as 1873, when the first cable car began service. Tales of technological advances, natural disasters, political struggles, and triumphant celebrations color its 140-year history and shape it into a system today that’s uniquely diverse and uniquely San Francisco.
Definitely worth losing a few hours to!
Historical Map: British Rail Network SouthEast, 1988
Network SouthEast was an operating division of British Rail that was formed in 1982 (although it was known as London & South Eastern until 1986). It was responsible for inter-city and commuter rail for the densely-populated south east of England, including London. Of course, beginning in 1994, Network SouthEast was privatised along with the rest of British Rail, leading to the convoluted network of private rail companies we see today.
But what we have here is a very handsome network map, which obviously owes a great deal to the London Underground map, but has enough of its own identity to stand alone. This is mainly achieved by the removal of the Underground’s distinctive Johnston Sans typeface, replaced with what looks like a condensed Helvetica or similar Gothic face.
The map is broken down into six regions, which are cleverly shown by only using three repeating colours (red, blue and grey): this prevents the map from looking too rainbow-like and gives it a more corporate feeling. A fourth colour — orange — is used to show the brand-new ThamesLink service running north-south through London.
The London region itself only shows main terminals and connecting stations: a more detailed map of this area is shown on the reverse of this map: this keeps the map clean and uncluttered.
About the only real problem I have with this map is the colour of the water, which is almost exactly the same as the blue type that is used to denote connecting ferry services and ports. For example, there’s a ferry to France from Newhaven Harbour, but it’s very difficult to make that out.
Our rating: An excellent example of mid-1980s map design (remember: this is still before computers entered the design field, so a map of this complexity was quite an undertaking). Four stars.
Official Map: Portland MAX Horizontal Strip Map
The newest rolling stock used on Portland’s MAX light rail (Siemens S70 cars, known as “Type 4”) has enough room above the doors to display a horizontal version of the system map. Types 1 through 3 don’t have this space, and instead display an unwieldy portrait-oriented version of the map that bears little resemblance to geographical reality.
Interestingly, this map is not the same as the official system map found on TriMet’s website or ticket machines (despite sharing the same orientation and very similar proportions) but instead is yet another completely different layout. Wisely, the information on the map has been simplified down to the essentials — route lines and stations. Even the WES Commuter Rail has been omitted: there’s simply a note at the Beaverton Transit Center station noting that transfers to the weekday rush-hour only service can be made.
However, the map is also arguably the most geographically accurate version that TriMet has made: the Red and Blue lines take a big detour southwards from Sunset TC to Beaverton TC on the west side, just like in real life. Similarly, the Blue Line’s realignment from alongside I-84 to E Burnside St after Gateway TC makes an appearance. Even the slight changes in direction at either end of the Blue Line are reminiscent of actual geography.
Finally, of particular interest to me is the map’s striking use of 30- and 60-degree angles. Hmmmm, where have I seen that before?
Historical Map: Railways in Cornwall, 1936
An absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn map from a “Little Guide” to Cornwall published by Methuen in 1936. Drawn by B.C. Boulter, who also illustrated the guide book.
University of Virginia University Transit Service (UTS) Map
Submitted by Justin Tran, who says:
This is a redesign I did of the University of Virginia’s University Transit Service (UTS) map. You can see the original here. It won’t be live until permanent repairs are done to a certain bridge on Grounds that has vastly detoured more than half of these routes.
Transit Maps says:
This is pretty nice work here from Justin. It’s definitely been hugely influenced by the London Underground map, but works nicely in this context. I do think that the single-direction bus stop “ticks” are a little clever for their own good and rely on referring to the map’s legend a little too much to understand them fully. Something as integral to a transit map as a bus stop shouldn’t really need any further explanation to be able to understand it. A small arrow indicating which direction of travel the bus stop serves is the usual approach to this problem.
For the most part, the map looks great, although some of the curves could flow a bit better, especially around the hospital on the middle right of the map and on the orange University Loop line around the stadium.
Our rating: A solid effort that wears its influences on its sleeve. Overthinks the problem a bit, affecting usability slightly. Three stars.
P.S. As an aside, the geographically accurate map that Justin links to (PDF) is also pretty darn good.
Name That Transit System: The Answers!
You’re quite a clever bunch, aren’t you? Every system was identified correctly by someone, and there were very few incorrect guesses. (Not all of the “A” answers were given, but it was only an example question).
Give yourselves a pat on the back!
It’s that time once again, where I recap the top ten most-viewed posts for the last four months, as well as an all-time list from Transit Maps’ inception back in October 2011.
Without further ado, here’s the list for posts viewed between January 1st — April 30th, 2012:
10. Official Map: Key Bus Routes in Central London (link)
9. Design the Boston MBTA Map — For FREE! (link)
8. Historical Map: West Berlin U-Bahn Map, 1977 (link)
7. Future Map: Washington, DC “Silver Line” Draft Map (link)
6. Official Map: Boston MBTA Rapid Transit/Key Bus Routes Map (link)
5. My Unofficial Boston MBTA Map Green Line Preview (link)
4. Official Map: Copenhagen S-Tog Map (link)
3. Official Map: Rail and Tram Network, Budapest, Hungary (link)
2. Unofficial Map: “Guerrilla” Moscow Metro Map (link)
1. Unofficial Map: Transportation of Walt Disney World Resort, Florida (link)
And now the all-time list, dating back to October 2011. Change in position from the last all-time list is shown in [square brackets].
10. Official Map: Washington D.C. Metro “Rush+” System Map (link) 
9. Official Map: Key Bus Routes in Central London (link) 
8. Historical Map: West Berlin U-Bahn Map, 1977 (link) [NEW]
7. My Unofficial Boston MBTA Map Green Line Preview (link) 
6. Unofficial Map: “Guerrilla” Moscow Metro Map (link) [NEW]
5. Official Map: Copenhagen S-Tog Map (link) 
4. Official Map: Rail and Tram Network, Budapest, Hungary (link) 
3. Official Map: Boston MBTA Rapid Transit/Key Bus Routes Map (link) 
2. Historical Maps: Man-Made Philadelphia, 1972 (link) 
1. Unofficial Map: Transportation of Walt Disney World Resort, Florida (link) 
A new number one, at last! Seems like there’s a lot of people who really want to know how to get around Walt Disney World! I’m at a bit of a loss to explain the sustained popularity of my posts about Copenhagen and Budapest, however.
Whoa — this landmark caught me totally by surprise, no time to make a cute graphic, sorry. A lot of new followers recently — thanks to each and every one of you! Also up to 880 Twitter followers (@transitmap), and 391 likes over on the Facebook page.
I also have a heap of submissions that you’ve sent in that I promise I’ll get too really soon: thanks for your patience!
Future Minneapolis & St. Paul Transit Map
After several months in development, I’m proud to present to you the Future Twin Cities Transit Map. A comprehensive summary of current rapid transit proposals, this version shows all existing and future light rail & BRT lines as well as select major bus routes, commuter rail and HSR connections. Detailed summary of transit improvements available at MetroTransit’s homepage.
In 2030, Twin Cities are expected to join the likes of Chicago, Curitiba and Copenhagen in operating an efficient, reliable, and extensive transit network. Take a peek at the future!
Download, Print, Share, Modify…
No project is ever complete, so I would welcome anyone to use it as a template for their own mapping project!
The map is published under a Creative Commons license(Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike).This means sharing and making copies is not just allowed but strongly encouraged.
Comments / questions? Just ask!
Transit Maps says:
I’ve been following this project with interest for quite a while now, and all I can say now that it’s completed is: WOW!
This is a transit map designed to inspire future riders. It’s beautifully designed, technically excellent (I’ve pulled apart the PDF in Illustrator to get a good look under the hood), and — quite frankly — puts a lot of official transit maps produced in the U.S. to absolute shame.
What I love most is the crystal-clear informational hierarchy: thick, coloured lines represent rapid transit, be it LRT or BRT. Regardless of the mode, service comes frequently (9 to 12 minute headways) and the vehicles move quickly. Grey lines (lower in the hierarchy) show arterial bus service, with line thickness neatly representing service frequency. Beneath this, the I-494/694 ring is subtly shown for orientation, and the geography is rendered in a style that complements the routes beautifully. The legend is clear and easy to use, and the colour scheme for the whole map gives it a very sophisticated, modern feel.
Finally, the icons used on the map are excellent from top to bottom, from the distinctive segmented interchange markers, down to the tiny airport, commuter rail and Amtrak icons. Fantastic attention to detail is evident here.
Our rating: Everything I love about modern transit map design. Five stars!