Historical Map: San Francisco Muni Transit Routes, 1970

For a long period of time, the San Francisco Municipal Railway, (commonly shortened to just “Muni”) used pretty much exactly the same map in their brochures. It seems that each year, they’d simply make any amendments required — addition of new routes, deletion of old ones, etc. —  and then reprint the brochure/map in a new colour combination.

The earliest example I can find, from 1952, uses a sombre two-color palette of black and red, mostly tinted down to greys and pinks. However, by 1970, the map had evolved into this gloriously garish three-colour purple, yellow and black vision that suits the post-Summer of Love San Francisco perfectly.

The map shows all Muni streetcar, coach and cable car services, but with no visible mode differentiation — express services are shown with a dashed line. However, the map’s actually pretty clean and easy to follow: route termini are clearly shown by route numbers in large circles, and there’s enough smaller numbers along each route to allow you to follow them from one end to the other.

Also of note: basic fare is just 20 cents!

Our rating: Groovy, man! A psychedelic re-imagining of a long-serving and functional map. Four stars.

4 Stars!

(Source: Eric Fischer/Flickr)

Historical Maps: Evolution of the Stockholm Metro Map, c.1958-1971

Here’s a fantastic photo showing three versions of the map for the Stockholms tunnelbana, probably taken at the Stockholm Transit Museum. By comparing the three maps and the looking at the stations shown on each of them, I’ve roughly dated each as follows.

The top map is from between November 19, 1958 (when the Farsta station opened), and November 14,1959, when Rågsved station (shown on the middle map, but not on the top one) opened.

The middle map is from around late 1964- early 1965, as it shows Fruangen and Ornsberg stations (1964), but only shows Ostermalmstorg (1965) as being under construction.

The final map is from between 1967 and 1971, as it’s after Ropsten and Vårberg have opened, but before the extension to Farsta Strand has been built. Interestingly, this extension is shown as being “under construction” on the middle map, but makes no appearance at all on the final map.

What’s truly fascinating about this trio of maps is the rapid transition from geographical map, through a more stylised map (note that it retains some semblance of a coastline where the tracks cross water), to a severe rectilinear diagram in just 13 years or so. Each map is also quite beautiful in their own way.

Route numbers on the second and third maps allow service patterns and short run lines to be shown very effectively. I think the treatment on the final map is one of the best I have ever seen: it’s clear to see exactly which stations Line 13 runs between, for example.

Compare to the current Stockholm transit map (Nov. 2011, 3.5 stars)

(Source: frettir/Flickr — I recommend clicking through to the largest image to view the maps in detail)


New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual (1970)

Further to this post from the other day, it now seems that the entire New York Subway Graphics Standards Manual is now online here. Read and enjoy!

Historical Map: 1970 NYMTA Graphics Standards Manual “Inside Line Map”

Yummy excerpt from the Massimo Vignelli/Unimark 1970 style guide, showing style and dimensions for in-car strip maps, using the “E” line as an example. Look at how everything is defined precisely and consistently: there’s absolutely no room for misinterpretation here.

Want to see more from the manual? Check out this great Flickr photoset.

(Source: Blue Pencil)

Historical Map: Sydney Rail Transport System, c. 1970-1976

Here’s another interesting planning map from Sydney, Australia, showing a vision for the future that never quite got there.

If you look to the far centre right of the map, you can see the planned Eastern Suburbs line… including a never-built extension from the (now current) end of the line at Bondi Junction to Kingsford. There’s also an extra station at Woollahra in the section that did finally get built.

It’s these details that allow me to date the map fairly accurately: it’s post-1970, as the distances are in kilometres, not miles, but before 1976, which is when the extension to Kingsford was scrapped.

Have we been there? A little early for my time in Sydney (we moved there from Armidale in 1979).

What we like: A fascinating glimpse of what might have been. Although I’m not sure it’s intended, the thickness of the route lines throughout the system seem to act as an indicator of service frequency - something that is being seen more on modern transit maps. The old NSW Rail “arrow of indecision” is a pretty awesome 1970s logo.

What we don’t like: Pretty rough and ready, with distances being pasted on wherever they would fit. Not really for general consumption.

Our rating: Of historical interest for the vision of the Eastern Suburbs line alone, but doesn’t look great. Two-and-a-half stars.

2.5 Stars

(Source: davemail66/Flickr)