Official Map: Bus Transit of Spokane, Washington, USA
Well, it certainly didn’t take long for people to set me right after my blanket statement that bus maps are “just” boring old geographically-accurate road maps with routes on them. I’ve had a flood of submissions, comments and tweets on the subject, complete with links to some very interesting examples of bus-only maps.
This one, from the city of Spokane in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, definitely caught my eye. For a fairly small transit district, this map is very impressive and actually puts a lot of larger transit agencies to shame.
Have we been there? I’ve been through Spokane on road trips, but have never needed to catch a bus there.
What we like: Beautifully clear routes, with thickness of line serving as an indicator of frequency. Especially clever is the merging of two routes that travel along the same road into a combined thicker line to indicate that the two services together offer greater frequency along that corridor. While the map has been simplified, it still holds a strong relationship to geographical reality. The muted background colour and soft grey used for the underlying roads really allow the routes to stand out clearly. Comprehensive and easy to read legend.
What we don’t like: The insets for the Valley Transit Center and The Plaza Boarding Zones really need to be shown more clearly on the main map itself - it took me (a non-local) a few minutes of scanning the map to find their actual location. The dotted line used to denote non-stop service can be a little indistinct, especially on the pink Express routes.
Our rating: A surprisingly confident and well-executed map from a lesser-known transit district. Four stars!
(Source: Spokane Transit website - PDF)