Official Map: New Toronto Streetcar Network Being Rolled Out
Submitted by Rob, who says:
The TTC have decided to include a streetcar map inside the new streetcars when they start rolling out at the end of this month. What do you think of the map? With out any actual street grid information it doesn’t seem very helpful since it gives you zero context of where each route is in the street system.
Transit Maps says:
I think Rob is being a little unfair when he says that there’s no street grid information on the map: there’s actually quite a lot of reference points, but the map makes it harder to find than it should be. The east-west streets shown on the map – the ones that have streetcar or subway service – pretty much define the major horizontal elements of Toronto’s downtown grid, and the names of the stations on the Bloor-Danforth (or newly-christened “2”) Line help to define the verticals, as they’re mostly named after the north-south streets they intersect.
However, the type used on the map is so abysmally tiny that I feel it’s going to be difficult for anyone to actually be able to find and use this information. The map is 35” wide by 11” tall, and I’m presuming it’ll be mounted above the doors in the vehicles. The type used for station labels on the map is in the range of just 11 to 13 points, which isn’t that much bigger than what you might find used in a standard typeset novel. It’s certainly not legible from any further away than two feet or so, especially in a moving, crowded streetcar! At least the route numbers are nice and big.
Technically, there’s some pretty sloppy work with some of the curves in the route lines, particularly with the dashed Limited Service routes, and the eastern end of the 506 line. I also don’t see why the Bloor-Yonge subway station needs a little pointer from its label to the station: there’s no possible chance of confusing that label as belonging to anything else on the map!
Typographically, I feel that the Helvetica used for the map labels sits very uneasily with the Art Deco “TTC” typeface used at the top of the map: a definite clash of eras and styles there.
It’s also interesting to note that the map’s north pointer aligns with “street north”, rather than true north (Toronto’s street grid is angled about 17 degrees counter-clockwise from north). However, this probably just reflects common directional terminology in Toronto.
Our rating: Seems to be a bit of a missed opportunity for something truly useful, although I’d love some reports from the field to see if it really is as hard to read as my gut instinct tells me it is. At the moment, my instinct gives it two-and-a-half stars.
Submission — Unofficial Map: Intercity and Commuter Rail of North America’s East Coast by Edward Powell
Submitted by Isaac Fischer, who says:
Here’s a neat map I found online that shows the entire American east coast, as well as southeastern Canada. It shows both commuter and intercity rail lines. As far as I can tell, it seems fairly accurate, and could definitely be useful.
Transit Maps says:
While there’s more than a passing resemblance to my own Amtrak Passenger Rail map here — both in the general aesthetics of the map and in the circle/line device used to indicate whether trains call at a station or not — this map adds another whole level of detail by adding commuter rail services (and eastern Canada!) to the mix.
Note that the map shows intercity and commuter rail only, meaning that in New York, for example, the LIRR and Metro-North lines are shown, but not the subway. For a map of this scale (the entire eastern seaboard), that seems like a wise choice.
The layout of the map is great: nice and clean, very diagrammatic but still mindful of the “lay of the land”. The use of a single, distinctive colour for each agency also works really well — Amtrak’s distinctive teal blue and purple for the MBTA commuter rail are especially effective.
However, I find the typography less inspiring, with labels at a lot of different angles combined with some fairly lacklustre type layout for the different agency legends.
Edward also could have proofed his work a little better (although it’s definitely difficult to do a project this size, as I well know!). Even a cursory look at the map revealed quite a few errors, including labelling all the commuter rail stations in Florida as “VIA”, rather than “TRI” for Tri-Rail. Lake Worth station is also included twice, at the expense of Boynton Beach. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, a duplicate Chestnut Hill East station strangely serves as the terminus for the Chester Hill West line. And so on…
Our rating: great diagrammatic layout (although too huge to ever realistically be reproduced as a poster), but let down a bit by some average type treatment. Still a lot of detail to savour and enjoy, though! Three stars.
Source: Edward’s DeviantArt account
In Between, Montréal
Love this photo!
Submission – Fantasy Map: Pacific Northwest (USA and Canada) Regional Rail
Submitted by opspe, who says:
This is my concept for what an integrated regional inter-city rail network in the Northwest could look like, if things had developed that way. All there is now (regionally) is Cascades, which I ride all the time, but it’s still rather limited. I decided to include the local commuter rail lines (WES, Sounder, WCE) too. I also decided to beef up CalTrans a bit - they don’t actually serve Redding, although it’s in discussion.
I sort of based the concept on the National Rail network in the UK, although things had to be scaled up a bit. The area shown is about 2.5 times the size of the UK, after all. I decided to include the main communities the lines pass through, rather than have a ton of whistle stops. To me that makes it feel more…functional, for lack of a better word - more like a proper, seamless system. That being said, I think the scale belies the vastness of the region, so if I were to make smaller-scale maps for individual routes, I would probably include “whistle-stop sections” along the route. But that’s TMI for an overview.
The routes are all current rail lines, in various states of freight usage or disrepair. I think the section between Juntura and Burns has been scrubbed entirely, but the grade is still there. There are several other minor infrastructure adjustments that would be needed too (downtown Hillsboro comes to mind).
As far as design goes, it seemed best to include some stylized geographical accuracy rather than have it be too rectilinear. I tried to make the route names somewhat geographic, but I also numbered them for clarity. Route 1 (CascadesExpress) I had imagined as being a high-speed line, as opposed to the more local routes 2 and 3. Together they replace Amtrak Cascades (but keep the name for continuity).
Tumblr and/or Dropbox will likely crush the resolution, but the idea is that it’s supposed to be a big map, such as you would find mounted inside a station, or as a PDF online.
I’m curious what you think of it.
Transit Maps says:
Overall, this is a fine effort, which could just use a little polishing here and there to make it a quite excellent fantasy map. A couple of areas stand out to me for potential improvements:
First, the insets at the top, right and bottom of the map – all for just a few stations each – really make it look like you just ran out of room and didn’t want to go back and rework things. There’s lots of room on a map this big to tighten things up and make everything fit without insets. Even bringing all your stations just a tiny bit closer together across the entire map can create a surprising amount of extra space. For mine, insets should only be used when the complexity of the system at that point can’t reasonably be shown any other way: the inset of the Loop on the official Chicago “L” map stands as a good example of this.
Secondly, you could work a little more on stylizing and simplifying your coastline and rivers. The San Juan Islands look particularly blocky to me, and I think the Columbia River would look so much nicer if it had sweeping curves as it changed direction, rather than the harsh angles you currently have. Remember, the style of your background should complement your route lines, not draw attention away from them.
I also think the thick black border around your legend is a little heavy handed, but that’s a very minor thing.
One thing on the operational aspect of your system (which I don’t normally comment on too much, preferring just to focus on the technical and aesthetic qualities of the map)… I’m not sure any regional/commuter rail system would ever run a route one way up one side of a river and the other direction on the opposite bank like you’ve done with Line 12 in British Columbia. It’s just not at all practical for users! Imagine if I live in Agassiz, and I commute to Vancouver each day: I drive my car to Agassiz station and catch the train. Coming home, I can only return to Chilliwack, which is nowhere near where I left my car. Maybe there are shuttle buses between the two stations, but that just seems incredibly inefficient. I would suggest that most regional rail systems would have one route along the side of the river that serves the most people, or maybe – just maybe! – they’d split the service (but halve the frequency) in both directions on both sides of the river.
Submission - Toronto TTC Strip Map at St. George Station
Submitted by criacow, who says:
Check out this wayfinding sign at St. George Station in the TTC subway here in Toronto. (My blurry photo, but TTC signage.) Up is north, but *left* is *east*—they flipped on an axis rather than rotating—and ‘eastbound’ isn’t noted anywhere. I’ve lived here for years and even I was confused by this until I looked at the specific station names!
Transit Maps says:
I’ll agree that this does look odd at first glance, but I’d bet the map points in the right direction (i.e., Kennedy station is to the left of this viewpoint, with the train entering the station from the right). In effect, this is actually a strip map, showing stations in the direction of travel from this platform, rather than a true system map where the cardinal directions point the way you expect.
I think what really throws you (and probably many others!) is the reversal of the distinctive “U-shape” of the Yonge–University–Spadina line (or should that just be “Line 1” now?).
Fantasy Map: North American Metro Map by Mark Knoke
Obviously inspired by — and clearly credited as such — the brilliant xkcd “Subways of North America” map, here’s a quite staggeringly detailed map of pretty much every rail-based rapid transit system in North America, including future expansions and upcoming new systems like Honolulu’s HART elevated light rail. Like the xkcd map, all the systems link up at their termini to form one giant Metro map that spans the entire continent.
True, the map isn’t the most visually attractive piece — it’s very basic in its construction and has labels going just about everywhere, but the sheer level of effort required simply has to be appreciated. By my count, there are forty-seven (yes, 47!) separate systems represented on this map, from the New York subway to the Tren Urbano in San Juan, Puerto Rico and all points in between. Each and every station is labelled. For the most part, the systems adhere to their standard map layout, although obviously some tweaks have had to be made to make them join up.
While I haven’t checked every detail, I have noticed that the Tacoma Link light rail in Tacoma, Washington is missing. It’s part of Sound Transit’s network, although physically separate from the main Central Link line that runs from SeaTac Airport to downtown. The inclusion of the the much-maligned Detroit People Mover is interesting (is it really proper “rapid transit”?), and begs the question why the very similar Miami Metromover system isn’t also shown.
(Source: Mark Knoke/Flickr)
Historical Map: Homeward Passenger Movement During the Evening Rush Period, Toronto, 1915
Beautiful diagram indicating the patterns of homeward peak-hour travel via public transportation (at this time, mainly streetcar) in Toronto. By my rough count, the collection of yellow dots in the downtown area represents some 49,500 people.
Of particular interest are the red-and-white hatched dots, which represent a point where passengers transfer from the privately-run Toronto Railway Company’s (TRC) streetcars to those of the city-owned Toronto Civic Railways. Due to a disagreement over the terms of the franchise, the TRC refused to offer streetcar service in newly-annexed portions of Toronto, forcing the city to create its own service in those areas. In 1921, the TRC’s franchise expired and all transit was consolidated under the new Toronto Transportation Commission, the forerunner to today’s Toronto Transit Commission.
If you look closely (click on the image to be taken to a much larger version of the map), you can see that ridership totals are also shown for the civic railways, just in a fine black hatching instead of the more prominent blue used for the services branching out of the downtown area.
Visually quite similar to this map of the morning peak flow on the New York City subway in 1954.
(Source: Toronto Transit Alliance)
Historical Map: Montreal Tramways Company, 1941
Here’s a very handsome map of transit in 1941 Montreal, provided by the Montreal Tramways Company, or La Compagnie des Tramways de Montreal. Despite the name, there’s also a healthy (and growing) number of bus routes on this map, shown in blue.
Cleverly, the map rotates the city away from true north in order to fit everything onto the sheet of paper allocated, and the north pointer used is simply lovely, even including the company’s “MTC” monogram.
The map does a lot with just three colours, clearly differentiating between bus and tram services while highlighting regular services versus supplementary/rush hour ones with a minimum of fuss. The callout boxes for main stations are lovely, with the names contained within an ornate scroll at the top of the box.
My favourite part of the map, however, is how it effortlessly deals with the requirement to present information in both French and English. It even goes so far as to have one information box say “Index of/des Routes” while the other states “Index des/of Routes”, so that no-one feels that the other side got a better deal.
Finally, the roundel that the MTC uses for its logo looks awfully familiar...
Our rating: Quite lovely — clear and stylish. Four stars!
Historical Map: TTC System Map, Guide and Patron, December 5, 1957
Awesome old publicity photos that seem to feature a helpful TTC guide explaining the system map to Betty Draper. Also, the illustrations around the map itself are kind of incredible. The newfangled subway has only been open for three years at this point in time.
Compare to this similarly amazing TTC photo from 1966.
Reblogged from: torontohistory
Unofficial Map: Montreal Métro in the style of the London Tube Map
Here’s a fun little piece sent my way by Montreal-based designer Corey Landel: the Métro de Montréal redesigned in the style of the iconic London Underground map.
While it’s definitely a fun little homage, I do feel that Corey could have pushed a little harder to match the designs more closely and demonstrate a better understanding of the “Beckian” principles at play behind the design of the Tube map (in short, absolute simplification of route lines, even spacing of stations and eradication of any angles other than multiples of 45).
Because, if you’re going to create something “in the style of”, why not go the whole way?
A few thoughts, based on the concept that the idea is to get this map as close to the style of the Underground Map as possible:
Gill Sans as used here is an acceptable alternative to Johnston Sans, but there are also pretty decent free versions of Johnston to be found on the Internet. Worth it for the distinctive diamond-shaped tittles alone.
The zig-zagging route at each end of the Green Line on Corey’s map would never be present on the Underground Map. The jog between Verdun and Joilcoeur would be eliminated, while the whole eastern end would follow one straight path, with perhaps one change in direction to a vertical line for the last few stations if space restraints demanded it (as it looks like it might here).
On a similar note, the non-standard angles on the Yellow Line would also be verboten on the Underground Map. There’s really no reason why it just can’t be a straight horizontal line, except to conform to the underlying geography. Which brings me to my next point…
Treatment of rivers: On the Tube Map, the Thames is treated diagrammatically, the same as the route lines. The approach on Corey’s map pretty much mirrors that of the official Montreal map, with stylised/simplified geography underlying a diagrammatic representation of the lines.
The suburban trains shown on this map are analogous to the London Overground, so perhaps they could be treated in a similar way. However, this does create a colour clash with the Orange Line that doesn’t exist on the Tube map. A compromise could be to use the white-stroked line from the Underground map, but a different colour, like the lovely purple the official STM map used to have before the recent redesign.
Other general aesthetic differences include the lack of curves in the route lines as they change direction, the look of the standard station tick (there’s no curved cap on the Tube Map’s symbol) and the thickness of the black keyline around the interchange station symbols.
Pro Tip: The official London Tube Map PDF is not protected in any way and is fully openable and editable in Adobe Illustrator. Any aspiring transit map designer should really download a copy, open it up and see what makes it tick. I know that doing this aided my understanding of transit map design principles immensely.