Mexico City Metro Linea 3 Map… or List

About as simple and directly to-the-point as a line map can get. Really, it’s just a bulleted list, with each station’s icon serving as the bullet. Of note though, is how each icon has its own very distinct shape within the square (with a rounded corner) framework. Each is easily identifiable, even from a bit of a distance. 

Source: dogseat/Flickr

Historical Map: Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board - Proposals for General Scheme, 1923

Another great planning map from almost 100 years ago. Melbourne, of course, is one city that has retained its trams over the years, rather than tearing them all out, only to eventually replace them with light rail or new trams in the modern day.


Here’s a great map that we’ve just added to our archives today. Authored by the M&MTB’s Chief Engineer T.P. Strickland in 1923 and overlaid on a Sands & McDougall map of Metropolitan Melbourne, it shows the extent of the cable tram network and the electric routes inherited by the Board four years earlier in 1919, and a slew of proposed lines as outlined in the “General Scheme for Future Tramways.” Some of these were eventually constructed, many others remain unrealised.

Most curious: the proposal for lines on the Footscray system to Sunshine and the City via Dynon Road; the original plan to join Spencer St/Clarendon St via Hanna St (now Kings Way) to Toorak Rd; a curious loop arrangement near Caulfield Station; the extensive network in the bayside suburbs of Elsternwick, Glenhuntly, and Moorabbin; and all of the connections in the inner northern suburbs of Fitzroy, Northcote, Preston, Brunswick, and Coburg.

QuestionI am an undergraduate student in Connecticut who has dreamed of pursuing a career in the transportation industry since I was in elementary school. I am most interested in developing intelligent transport system software and I passionate about maps in general because they help us software developers understand the trends of urbanization, routes, and much more to aid our development. I was wondering how did you develop such a knowledge on transit maps? What is your education background? Answer

My education is purely graphic design-based, having completed an Associate Diploma of Visual Arts (Graphic Design) some twenty-odd years ago in Sydney, Australia.

As a designer, I’ve always had an interest in wayfinding and transit maps as a subset of graphic design, but my real love of it developed out of a trip to London in 1997, where I was first exposed to the Tube and its famous Diagram. I bought two books from the London Transport Museum – “Mr. Beck’s Diagram”, and the superb “Designed for London” (all about the remarkably forward-thinking and unified graphic design and branding he Underground has enjoyed over its 150 year history) – and haven’t looked back since.

My interest in transit maps has grown over the years, and I’ve applied my own thinking and design experience to creating my own maps, many of which can be found on my personal design blog. The Transit Maps blog actually began as a personal design exercise: analysing transit maps  from around the world so I could make better maps – finding out what worked and what didn’t, as well as placing maps into a proper historical perspective. It’s grown into something much bigger since then, but that what was started it.

Working as a senior graphic designer for a large multi-national engineering and design firm certainly helps my perspective as well. I’m working with the people who help create the transit systems that the maps represent: seeing the huge amount of planning, work and effort that goes into even something as apparently simple as a short extension of a light rail system is certainly eye-opening. 

Unofficial Map: Transit Network of Norfolk, Virginia by Jonah Adkins

This is a nice little map from Jonah, whose transit map version of his Noland Trail Map I featured back in July last year. The map certainly does a good job of placing the new light rail line in a regional context, with the Elizabeth River and the Interstate highways defining the surrounding area nicely. Points of interest and county/city borders are nicely shown as well.

However, I disagree a bit with Jonah’s informational hierarchy. I believe that all the Hampton Roads Transit services – be they light rail, commuter bus (yet another MAX acronym!), regular bus or ferry service – should be higher up the hierarchy than the Amtrak and Greyhound services which operate far more on an inter-regional/national level. That is to say, local commuters and residents really don’t use them on a regular basis to get around the area. In particular, having Greyhound buses shown as a thick, dark grey line, while the Hampton Roads buses are a recessive, hard to see, light grey makes little sense. They should also be grouped together in the legend, rather than having the Amtrak/Greyhound services split them up as they currently do.

Minor things: I find the double curve between the MacArthur Square and Civic Plaza stations a little overly-fussy (a single 135-degree angle would work better); it’s Amtrak, not Amtrack; and the legend could have less Random Acts of Capitalization in it… “Daily” is capitalized, for example, but “complex” is not? I personally prefer legend text to be set in sentence case (easier to read, only proper names get capitalized), but if you’re going to write in title case, you need to be consistent about the way you apply it.

It’s still a very attractive map, and certainly one I could envision at bus stops and light rail stations in the area with a little more polish. 


Downtown Norfolk Transit Network (Draft)

For fun last year, I did a transit map version of my Noland Trail map. Since then I’ve really wanted to do a real transit map, but unfortunately I live in one of the most transit-boring regions of the U.S..

The main focus is the new light-rail line (The Tide), and it’s connectivity with the existing bus transportation system. I was excited that light-rail was coming to the region, and bummed when I saw the map. I guess I’m spoiled by all the great work on @transitmaps. Included on this map is the new Amtrack NE Regional train which originates from the downtown area, Greyhound Bus routes, and all of the connecting arterial bus routes.

Bottom line and the point to all my side projects - had fun creating, learning and expanding my skillset, on another (local) map project.

Photo: We are Transforming Your Tube

Rather clever and well-executed “under construction” signage seen in Tottenham Court station back in 2010.

Source: Luigi Rosa/Flickr

  1. Camera: Konica Corporation Konica Digital Camera KD-500Z
  2. Aperture: f/2.8
  3. Exposure: 1/14th
  4. Focal Length: 8mm

Historical Map: Rapid Transit Plan by the City of Seattle, 1920

Here’s an interesting map that shows a plan for rapid transit that city engineers envisioned for Seattle way back in 1920, almost 100 years ago!

The map shows a subway running beneath Third Avenue from Virginia to Yesler, coming to the surface near the railroad stations – essentially the route followed by the present-day Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. Trains going up to Capitol Hill would follow a line up Pine Street that would be alternately underground and elevated, ending at 15th Avenue East. An elevated line would serve Pigeon Point in West Seattle, while surface rapid transit would connect with the existing streetcar service at stations in Fremont, lower Queen Anne, and the University District.

Source: Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr

In Between, Montréal

Love this photo!

Source: amesis/Flickr

Official Map: Transit of Magdeburg, Germany

Submitted by keks63, who says:

I really enjoy your blog, so I thought I would submit the transit map of my nearest German city.

The network features 9 tram lines (1 to 10, they did not make a line 7 for some reason), and several bus and ferry lines. The city has about 200,000 inhabitants, and the tram serves all the important areas, you do not need a car to live in Magdeburg, which is very nice. I find this map quite good to use, however there is some confusion going on around “Alter Markt” and “Allee-Center” stations. But all in all, I think it’s a good transit map for a medium-sized German city.


Transit Maps says:

This is almost the archetypal German transit map: clean and clinical design that conveys a lot of information without any fuss. The trams are given the highest priority, followed by the bus lines and then the S-bahn, which has its station names highlighted in the distinctive green used almost universally across Germany for such services.

While I don’t necessarily find the Alter Markt/Allee-Center area difficult to understand, the way the routes seem to overlap randomly as they cross here is a little odd. There’s also one glaring mistake: the icons cover the station name at Jerichower Platz on the east side of the map where tram lines 5 and 6 join.

Our rating: About as German as a transit map can be. Three-and-a-half stars.

3.5 Stars

Source: Official MVB website 

Official Map: Daytime Transport Services of Budapest, Hungary

In addition to the Metro/suburban rail only map that was introduced with the new Metro Line 4, there’s also this more comprehensive city map that adds tram, key bus routes, ferries and more to the mix. It’s more directly analogous to the old Budapest map (July 2012, 2.5 stars), and is also highly reminiscent of this Prague integrated transit map (August 2012, 4 stars).

Definitely aimed at tourists (the PDF file even has the word “turisztikai” in its file name) to give them a good idea of transit options within the central city, the map does a good job of that: the river and park areas work nicely to define the shape of the city and the Metro is given good hierarchical prominence. There’s even some nicely executed simple icons for points of interest around town.

Instead of the approach taken on the previous map, where each tram line was given its own colour, here they’re all represented by yellow. It’s a little odd that it’s the exact same colour as Metro Line 1, but the difference in stroke weight makes it immediately obvious which is which. Key bus routes are shown in blue, and the unique cogwheel railway (Line 60) is highlighted in magenta. For those who are curious, the “Children’s Railway" shown to the far left of the map is not necessarily a railway for children, it’s a railway operated by children (apart from adult supervision and the actual driver of the train).

The only real flaws with this map in my eyes are some overly fussy route lines for buses, particularly the 291 just north of Metro Line 2 on the west side of the river and the strangely jarring choice of Times New Roman for neighbourhood names. 

Our rating: Excellent overview of transportation options in Budapest. Looks good and is easy to follow. Four stars.

4 Stars!

Source: Official BKK website

Photo: Passeggiando in Valcamonica

Giant map of regional rail in Lombardy on the floor of Milan’s Repubblica station.  

Source: beriapaolo/Flickr