Unofficial Map: Washington DC Metro Map with Silver Line, 2014 

Just because I don’t like leaving things unfinished, here’s a new version of my Washington DC Metro map with the final configuration of the Phase I Silver Line shown. For reference, here’s my previous version from 2011.

Like the official map, I’ve left the Phase II Silver Line stations unnamed, which is probably a wise choice, seeing all the variants that the Phase I stations went through! Flipping the Silver Line to the southern side of the Orange Line before East Falls Church was something else that the official map got right, and I’ve emulated that here as well. Only a few other minor tweaks: a couple of station name changes and a darkening of the Red Line colour to aid colour-blind users a little more. What do you think?

Edit – Morning, August 6, 2014: Thanks to Peter Dovak for a couple of tweaks: NoMa–Gallaudet U is now named correctly, and Phase II of the Silver Line’s completion date has been pushed out (unsurprisingly) to 2018. I’ve swapped in a new image above, and I’ve updated the version over on Flickr.

Evening, August 6, 2014: Further edits based on feedback today, especially from the comments left on this Greater Greater Washington post about the map. Changes include the addition of parkland along the Anacostia River as shown on the official map, lengthened “ticks” for stations so that they’re not so “nubby”, route letters in circles instead of squares so that they can’t be confused with the parking icon, proper designation of Wiehle-Reston East as the current western terminus of the Silver Line, and a few minor fixes and clean ups here and there.

Source: Cameron Booth/Flickr

Submission - Historical Map: Bus and Trolley-bus Routes in Vilnius, Lithuania, 1968

Submitted by creatures-alive.

A striking transit network map from Soviet Vilnius in the late 1960s. The stark, angular route lines are softened a bit by the wide lazy curves of the city’s rivers, but this is still pretty severe, minimalist, almost abstract design. Also of note is the map’s title and legend, set in five different languages — Lithuanian, Russian, Polish, German and English.

Source: Vilniaus Katalogas website


Behold! The bustling metropolis of our brains!
From the TED-Ed lesson How playing an instrument benefits your brain - Anita Collins
Animation by Sharon Colman Graham

Brain/Tube Map animated GIF? Reblog.


Behold! The bustling metropolis of our brains!

From the TED-Ed lesson How playing an instrument benefits your brain - Anita Collins

Animation by Sharon Colman Graham

Brain/Tube Map animated GIF? Reblog.

Question: What’s a good way to display one-way routes on a map?

(Question from an anon).

The only correct answer to this is is to use an arrow that points in the direction of travel. However, there’s plenty of different ways to integrate that arrow into your artwork, as the examples above show: next to your route lines, within your route lines, or even as an integral part of your route line. A lot of it depends on the aesthetic vision of the map, or how much space is available. If there are a lot of one-way routes, then it’s best to plan an approach right at the start of the design process, rather than shoe-horning something inappropriate in later.

As a corollary, there are also times where a route may be running bi-directionally, but certain stops only serve vehicles headed in one direction. Here, you’ll need an arrow that’s contained within (or obviously linked to) the station symbol to make your meaning clear. Remember to explain this in the legend as well!

Images (clockwise from top left): Paris Metro map | Freiburg im Breisgau transit map | Gmünd bus map | Magdeburg bus map | My own Portland rail map | Fort Collins bus map

I’m Cameron and this is the Transit Maps blog, showcasing maps from around the world that help us get from Point A to Point B. From the past, present and future, real or imagined, they’re all here.

With over 1,000 blog entries, it can be a little daunting to find what you want, so I suggest that you visit the Tags page. I try to tag every post as meticulously as possible, so using them is the smart way to find something interesting. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, just randomise!

I also keep an FAQ about the site and questions that I get asked frequently. If you’re interested in making transit maps, then my tutorial tag is a great place to start. You can also ask me transit map-related questions here, or submit maps or links for my review/consideration here.

Transit maps that I have personally created – including my acclaimed “Highways of the USA” series – can be found on my personal design blog.

If you like what you see on the site, then reblogs, likes and retweets are greatly appreciated: reblogs and retweets help to increase the visibility of Transit Maps on the internet, so that more people can come and enjoy what I post. You can follow me on Twitter here.

All the best, and thanks for stopping by!


Submission – Unofficial Map: “Hyper Japan” Directory London Underground Map

Submitted by chiguire, who says:

Found this London Tube map in the Hyper Japan directory magazine. Hyper Japan is some sort of convention about the country [of Japan, held in London – Cam], but I couldn’t stop staring at this map. It’s like a car wreck, it’s horrible but you just can’t stop looking :-P


Transit Maps says:

A great example how you can use all the elements of a successful transit map and still end up with a complete mess. Obviously, the organisers of Hyper Japan didn’t want to pay a licensing fee to TfL for the actual Tube map, so they either made one of their own or paid someone substantially less than the licensing fee to make one for them.

The central part of the map actually looks eerily similar in shape to the real deal, with the (in)famous “thermos flask” shape described by the Circle Line remaining almost intact. However, things go rapidly downhill after that, and much of the system south of the Thames just looks horrible: the DLR and Overground suffering the worst. I’m also pretty certain that the southern part of the Northern Line is at a non-standard angle just so the legend can be squeezed in underneath it.

The square interchange symbols aren’t a patch on the superb interconnected circles of the actual Tube map, and the typography is lacklustre at best. If you need connecting lines between labels and the station they name, then you’re doing it wrong.

Our rating: A poor imitation that really makes you realise how balanced and aesthetically pleasing the Tube map is by comparison, and how difficult it is to make a truly excellent transit map. One-and-a-half stars.

1.5 Stars

Historical Map: Chapel Hill Transit Bus Map, 1974

Celebrating their 40th year of service today — August 1, 2014. Here’s their original service map showing eight routes: four city buses (solid lines), two UNC Campus buses (long dashed lines) and two Park/Ride express services to the airport lot and the mall lot (short dashes). The use of the different dashes allow the different types of services to be shown effectively with a limited (and cheap to print!) two-colour palette. There’s also some very fashionable — for 1974 — Eurostile typesetting as well.

Source: CHT Director Brian M Litchfield’s Twitter account

Official Map: Transfort Bus Map, Fort Collins, Colorado

Submitted by zmapper, who says:

This is the official bus system map for Fort Collins, Colorado. Of interest is the new north-south MAX BRT route, shown in lime green. 

What appears to be a straightforward, vanilla transit map has some substantial flaws. The map doesn’t note that the 30-series and 90-series routes only operate when the state university and public schools are in session, respectively, or that the Green and Gold routes only operate Friday and Saturday nights from 10:30 pm to 2:30 am, when the rest of the system has stopped operating. Additionally, the alignment of Route 12 between Mason and Stamford poses a challenge for the map designer; eastbound, the route turns left on College, loops counter-clockwise on Foothills, Swallow and Mason before resuming an easterly path; westbound, the route turns right on Mason and loops clockwise on Swallow and Stamford before doubling back on itself along Horsetooth. The map makes an attempt to display where Route 12 operates, but doesn’t clearly show how.


Transit Maps says:

You know, this map really doesn’t look too bad at all: nice clean linework, sensible colour choices (especially the nice muted tones for the background compared to the route lines), and simple little icons. I probably would have liked to see more emphasis on the MAX route – I mean, what’s the point of a shiny new BRT service if you can’t show it off to people properly?

I also think that double-headed arrows showing that buses travel in both directions along a route is redundant: bi-directional travel is always inherently implied in a transit map unless a single-headed arrow explicitly depicts one-way traffic.

Where this map really falls down is the lack of a coherent legend. This map is downloadable in this exact form from the Transfort website, with no extra explanatory text at all, and it’s probably not unreasonable to think that it is also posted in bus stops around the city. So why doesn’t it tell me what the heck MAX, FLEX, GREEN, GOLD and HORN actually are? As zmapper points out, the Green and Gold lines only run at night on Fridays and Saturdays, which you might think would be a Really Important Thing to tell people. Instead, the perfunctory legend shows some sort of dotted line to indicate “multiple routes”, but this type of line doesn’t actually occur anywhere on the map. 

Yes, the information about all the routes is available on the Web, but not everyone has access to that at all times, and some minor edits to the map could make things so much clearer for all users, especially visitors to Fort Collins.

Our rating: Looks good, but let down by some major information deficiencies. Two stars.

2 Stars

Source: Official Transfort website

P.S. Enough with the transit systems called MAX: this is at least the sixth one I can think of!

Historical Map: Pocket Diary with London Tube Map, 1948

A lovely little black and white version of the Tube map at the front of a 1948 year diary. Drawn by H.C. Beck (see his name at the bottom left), it shows the central area of London only and is based off the 1946 version of the full map. By 1949, interchanges were being drawn with a white connector line between adjacent circles, rather than the separate circles seen here.

Source: hollandfamilyarchives/Flickr

Fantasy Map: Rail Transport in Westeros by Michael Tyznik

Not the first Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice of Fire transit map I’ve seen, but definitely the best designed. It was created by Michael Tyznik, who also made this great fantasy map of Columbus (May 2012, 4 stars).

I do detect the influence of my TGV Routes of France map in this work — the general station symbology, the curved routes lines out of King’s Landing and the use of colour coding to define route groups — but Michael has done a fine job of taking things further. His intelligent use of non-standard angles keeps the map nice and compact, but also creates some nice, fun visual shapes. The typeface looks like the superb Source Sans Pro from Adobe, a definite favourite of mine.

(Spoilers below, I guess…)

There is some commentary in the map based on the events of the books and TV series, but it’s limited to some wry notes or labels: ”Please pardon our dust as Harrenhal is restored”, or having most of the stations on the Wall Line shown as being closed, for example. The Twins is also divided into “East” and “West” stations with a walking route between then, a very nice touch. One thing the map does really well is to emphasise the importance of the Kingsroad, the main trunk line of the whole transit system, as it were.

Michael has prints for sale for $40 of both this map and another one that shows the entire known world of the series.

Our rating: Great work: the map looks fabulous and it’s full of fun things for fans of the series. Four stars!

4 Stars!

Source: Michael’s Behance page. Click through to see lots of yummy details of the maps.