Historical Map: Boston Rapid Transit Map, early 1980s

Submitted by “Some Assembly Required” who says:

I’ve been enjoying your site for some time and recently remembered that I have an old MBTA system map in my basement. It came into my possession via a roommate over 20 years ago; I’m not sure how that person came to have it, but it probably wasn’t entirely legal. It’s a piece of metal (some sort of tin?) so I believe it was removed from a station.

Based on what is and isn’t on the map, I believe it dates to the early 1980s.


Transit Maps says:

You own this? JEALOUS.

(And your dating seems to be about right; definitely no later than 1985 1982.)

  1. Camera: CASIO COMPUTER CO.,LTD. EX-Z700
  2. Aperture: f/2.7
  3. Exposure: 1/30th
  4. Focal Length: 6mm

Historical Map: Integrated Transit Map of Milan, 1982

Submitted by Kyril Negoda at Mapping Twin Cities.


Milan boasts an comprehensive transportation system, consisting of a Metro, trams and buses. This map shows the ATM system in 1982, when the Metro was only 18 years old and consisted of just two lines. Not shown are the suburban rail services, which are operated by a separate company, although stations with transfers to it and mainline trains are indicated.

The first thing that really jumps out are the rings of tram and bus routes that go around the ancient core of the city, rather than through it — narrow, winding medieval streets preclude much transit from entering that part of the city. It certainly creates a strong visual look for the map, cleverly underpinned by also showing the main parks of the city, giving a strong sense of scale and geography to this otherwise very stylised map.

Have we been there? Yes, but I mainly walked the compact historical core without need for transportation.

What we like: Visually pleasing and oh-so-Italian in its design sensibilities. Takes a lot of information and displays it effectively and with some considerable style. 

What we don’t like: Differentiating stop/station ticks from the actual routes themselves can be tricky in some of the denser areas of the system. The black lines for intermodal stations can similarly be a little difficult to decipher, especially when they cross many route lines or are close together.

Our rating: A fine example of early 1980s transit map design. It still blows my mind that complex network maps like this were designed and executed without the aid of computers. Three-and-a-half stars.

3.5 Stars

(Source: Stagniweb - Italian Railways site — view map large here!)

See also: other Transit Maps posts about Milan.


The Tyne and Wear Metro system map peeks out from between two carriages at the St. James station in this great old photo from 1982.

(Source: jp4712/Flickr)