Unofficial Map: MetrôRio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by Pedro Guedes

Submitted by Pedro, who says:

This is an unofficial map for MetrôRio, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I find the official map hideous (May 2012, 2 stars), so I made this one. I haven’t yet ridden this subway, so I based my map on the maps I could find online. Because lines are hard to be distinguished if you are color blind, I have decided to put the line number on their last stations. I know that colors for the Metrô na Superfície subway bus are too close to be told apart, but I have decided to keep the original colors anyway.

I have also chosen to decrease geographic accuracy in order to make the map easier to read. The older map seemed geographic accurate, but it wasn’t that perfect: Pres. Vargas station was shown as almost on the bay, when it actually is just as far as Uruguaiana or Carioca stations.

I designed Line 1 as an open circle because I have found that it is planned to be a circular route when the system is better developed. Whether those plans are still real or they have changed, I can’t assure you, but as far as I have seen, those are the most recent ones.

I also plan on redesigning the map for the subway and commuter rail system in São Paulo, but that’ll take longer as it’s much more complex.

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Transit Maps says:

This is a really nice effort from Pedro, with a lot of sound reasoning behind most of his design choices. I especially like the circular shape he’s used for Line 1 – the “design hook” that I often like to see in a diagrammatic map. I do think he could have taken this thought a little further by making the top part of Line 2 a long, curving arc instead of a straight line, but this is a good start!

The rest of my comments really have to do with visual balance and informational hierarchy – I find some elements too large (the legend box and the name of the bay, which isn’t really a hugely important piece of information in the context of a transit map) and others too small (the names of the stops on the Metrô na Superfície bus routes). I also feel that the green “Todas (all)” text box at Central station could be placed above the station label: this would allow the “Pres. Vargas” label to be placed outside the circle like all the other stations around the right half of the ring. The placement of the “Cantaglo” label is a little trickier, but perhaps the whole map could be moved upwards to help accommodate it outside the ring. Note that there’s a lot of empty space above the map, while the bottom is jammed up hard against the edge of the page.

Our rating: Better than the official map and with a lot of good ideas. Needs just a little tweaking to make it really good. Three stars.

3 Stars

Rio de Janeiro Metrô Strip Map

Submitted by David Daglish, who says:

Rio De Janeiro’s metro system has only two lines, both cover the same stations through the business district to the tourist areas of the Zona Sul. The transit map also shows “metro bus” connections that don’t quite make geographic sense.

Transit Maps says: a “straightened” linear version of the full map (reviewed here, 2 stars), which enhances the legibility considerably. Strangely, this version also has information about weekend services that the full map completely lacks. However, the directional arrows between each and every station has to be one of the most ridiculously redundant pieces of design I’ve ever seen.

Official Map: Metrô Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Here’s a map that’s going to be seen a lot by tourists over the next few years as Rio de Janeiro hosts both the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games. Will it stand up to such international scrutiny and join other transit maps as a definitive icon of its city?

Probably not.

Have we been there? No.

What we like: Suitably bright and exotic Brazilian colour scheme. Relatively clean and simple design.

What we don’t like: Poorly drawn route lines with some very uneven curves, which clash stylistically with the very straight “Subway Bus” route lines. Heavy-handed elements throughout the map, including very large and bold text for station names and enormous bicycle parking icons. Inconsistent placement of connection information: why is the “Cosme Velho” label placed below the station it connects to, when nearby stations have the label placed neatly to the side? Some absolutely hideous distorted text in the legend below the map.

Our rating: Not great. 2 stars.

2 Stars

(Source: Official Metrô Rio website)

Official Map: Sao Paulo Metropolitan Transport Network

Unusually, this map from the Brazilian metropolis of Sao Paulo shows services offered by completely different transportation companies on the same map. To my mind, this type of integrated map needs to be used more often - travelers don’t necessarily care who offers the service, they just want to know if they can get from point A to point B.

Have we been there? No.

What we like: Comprehensive and all-encompassing. Great legend, even if it takes up more than half the sheet of paper it is printed on. I love the line names for the CPTM services - precious stones. It makes for some lovely and unusual colours on the map itself as well. Bilingual legend.

What we don’t like: Seems very cramped in places. The spacing on the Diamond line to the west of the city is far tighter than on the lines to the east. The grey drop shadow on the interchange stations (seemingly indicating light coming from the top left of the map) is ugly and unnecessary.

The whole thing is very busy, with dots everywhere - blue dots, green dots, white dots with green outlines, dots with an “E” in them - all of which need you to refer to the legend to determine their meaning. The need to show the logos of all the service providers on the map itself just adds to the visual noise.

Some routes seem unnecessarily complex for a diagrammatic map - the Yellow Line weaves all over the place, and why does the Lilac line need to jog northwards after it connects with the Emerald line at Santo Amaro?

Our rating: A comprehensive look at transit in a huge city, but a bit of a mess, really. Two-and-a-half-stars.

2.5 Stars

(Source: Official Sao Paulo Metro website)