Historical Map: TTC Subway Route Map, c.1975–1977
While we’re on the subject of the Toronto Subway map, here’s a beautiful version from the mid-1970s. This particular map is in a preserved subway carriage at the Halton County Radial Railway museum, and shows the subway as it was before the Spadina extension was opened in 1978.
This is actually probably my favourite version of this system’s map: it has nice horizontal station labels alternating to either side of the route lines (although Finch station strangely breaks the pattern at the very top of the map), lovely even spacing between all the stations, and a very elegant curve at the eastern end of the Bloor-Danforth route. The interchange symbol is rather nice, too: a square within a circle that draws attention to it very well indeed.
I’d steal this map to put on my wall over the modern version any day.
Compare also to this map from 1966, when the Bloor-Danforth line first opened.
Naked TTC Rocket Map
What goes on underneath the printed map. The lights for the future Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension stations are already in place in the upper left of the map.
Fortunately, the map hasn’t been stolen by someone to reveal these inner workings: it’s simply been moved to the left. This being Toronto, however, it’s probably only a matter of minutes until someone makes off with it to hang on their bedroom/dorm wall.
EDIT: As ytomatoboi points out, the map is missing: what I thought was the map is actually just a separate panel to the side. Seriously, Toronto, what’s the deal with taking the goddamn maps?
Fantasy Map: Victoria Integrated Transit Authority
Introduction: This is a fantasy/proposed transit network for Victoria, BC, Canada. I’ve been working on this off-and-on since the summer of 2011. It’s been a long process because I’ve tried to make this work not only as a nice looking graphic, but also as a maybe, somewhat, kinda plausible and functioning transit network. No destroying entire neighbourhoods and no monorails. However, with that in mind, I should mention I have absolutely no background in urban or transit planning. I have a few transit books and I follow @humantransit. So if you do this for a living and I’ve just made your head hurt, sorry.
Full size map here.
This proposed system consists of 5 light rail lines, a single commuter rail line, and modifications to the existing Victoria bus network. For the most part I’ve tried to utilize existing right-of-ways and minimize the construction of new structures. All the light rail lines would be at grade, and mostly mixed with traffic. Some lines/sections would be closer to a streetcar/tram than light rail, but the definitions of these types of system are getting a little blurry.
This line is very close to the existing Victoria Regional Rapid Transit proposal. I have made some changes though. South of Hillside, I choose an alignment of Government Street. Government Street between Yates and Wharf is almost already a pedestrian mall and I think it would be less obtrusive to put rapid transit down this corridor.
The existing proposal seems to favor the Galloping Goose trail, parallel to the Trans Canada Highway. To me this seems like the best corridor, but I’d be really curious to if they retain the trail or not. I’d love to see the trail kept because if there’s anything I like more than transit, it’s cycling.
The downtown terminus station would involve repurposing the Crystal Gardens. I have no idea if the engineering would work, but it’s such a great building and it seems sadly underutilized.
The Bay Street station would be north of Bay, and a bus loop would be built in one of those car lots between Government and Douglas. It’d be a major transfer point for bus routes and future LRT routes.
Lastly, I think the Wilfert station is probably going to be the least utilized in the entire network (I think it only exists for the casino).
This would be the second line built. It basically replaces the 4, which apparently is one of the busiest routes in the city. I looked at a bunch of different routes from downtown to UVic. To me, this one was the most plausible. It served multiple regional centres (Quadra Village, Hillside Centre, Camosun College and UVic), Hillside had the widest right-of-way, and the grades seemed the shallowest. I think it would be possible to run this line on its own right of way along most of Hillside, but it would probably need to run with mixed traffic along Foul Bay Rd.
Also I expect there would be a lot of NIMBYism in Oak Bay about this line.
A crosstown line that replaces the western part of the 6 route. It also historically mirrors some of the old Victoria streetcar network from the earlier part of the 20th century.
The downtown section would run along Yates Street because, again, I think it has the widest ROW. Convert Yates to two-way traffic, and do the same to Fort. It’s probably too late now, but it’d be great if the rebuilt Johnson Street bridge had space for tracks. Otherwise, it’s going to need its own bridge (or tunnel) over (or under) the inner harbour.
There are two eastern spurs, mostly because I couldn’t decide if the Royal Jubliee hospital or Oak Bay Village was more likely to generate more passengers.
This one is probably the least plausible line. It’d certainly be hard to build in sections.
The eastern end runs along McKenzie, alleviating bus services running crosstown to UVic. McKenzie has a nice wide ROW for most of its length, but it’s also a very, very busy street. Taking vehicle lanes away would probably be problematic. And then getting from Quadra to Uptown is also problematic. The most direct route would be along the Lochside trail, but I really don’t want to destroy this trail either. It would take some effort to keep both the LRT and trail.
I’m not sure if there’d be enough passengers to justify running two lines to the West Shore.
Lastly, the extension to Royal Bay is would be entirely dependant on whether or not Royal Bay actually gets developed. But this would run parallel to the Veteran’s Memorial Parkway.
This line is the least necessary line, but also would be easy to build if you wanted to build something down the median of the Pat Bay Highway. It’d alleviate some of the passenger load on the 6 bus route at the north end, plus provide connections to buses to the Saanich Peninsula.
Ideally I’d like to see a rail line up the Peninsula, but finding the right route that connected all the population centres was difficult to pinpoint. The old V&S doesn’t serve Brentwood bay and the old Interurban line doesn’t serve Keating X Road.
Utilizing the old E&N rail corridor, this would be a Train-Tram line. Vehicles would be able to use the street-level tracks in the city, but would operate more like a commuter train otherwise. This service would probably only run during peak hours. The Bastion Square terminus station would be in place of the current Yates Street parkade (unless its cheaper to tear down/repurpose something else nearby).
Frequent Transit Network
Many of these routes already are close to, or already run at, 15 minutes or sooner (though not seven days a week). A few new routes have been created because the rail network has severed some connections. The 5 is the southern portion of the 30/31, the 20 is the western end of the 14, and the 23 is the rest of the 11.
It’s just a dream, but I welcome any feedback/comments/anger via this Tumblr or Twitter.
Phew! That’s a pretty comprehensive overview of an imaginary transit system there! Having only been to Victoria for four hours on a very wet, rainy and cold December day a few years ago, I can’t really comment on the feasibility of all this.
Fortunately, the map looks great: a nice combination of diagrammatic route lines and stylised geography that works really well together, although the type for the bus route labels seems a little small to me. The dramatic circular loops that the buses take around the Medical Sciences light rail station seem a little at odds to the style of the rest of the map at first, but I can see from Google Maps that the road really does transcribe a perfect circle through the university campus there.
Fantasy Map: Subways of North America by xkcd
My Twitter feed and my Tumblr inbox are both absolutely overflowing with references to this map from the “xkcd’ web comic, so here’s a post about it!
xkcd has always been a comic for geeks, and has a long history of awesome map-related work — my favourites include this Lord of the Rings movie narrative map, and the particularly carto-nerdy discussion of map projections — so it’s nice to see the strip’s attention turn to this particular facet of cartography. Randall Munroe’s typically wry sense of humour can be seen in a lot of the labels on the map: “graveyard for passengers killed by closing doors”, the “Green Line extension to Canada” from Boston, and the inclusion of the infamous Springfield Monorail from The Simpsons. It’s definitely worth exploring in great detail — my favourite is probably the inclusion of the idiosyncratic and once-futuristic Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system at West Virginia University as the connection between Washington, DC and Atlanta.
A lot of people are already having issues with Randall’s definition of a “subway”, which he defines thusly:
For the pedantic rail enthusiasts, the definition of a subway used here is, with some caveats, “a network containing high capacity grade-separated passenger rail transit lines which run frequently, serve an urban core, and are underground or elevated for at least part of their downtown route.” For the rest of you, the definition is “an underground train in a city.”
If we’re going to be pedantic, then there are some strange omissions — Seattle’s Central Link light rail (grade-separated, frequent, serves the city and runs underground through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel) just off the top of my head. I feel sure many people could think of others!
What the map does show well, even in its cartoon-like execution, is the complete dominance of New York’s subway system (the mouseover tooltip for the comic states that about one in three North American subway stops are in NYC). Randall has remained quite faithful to the actual official system maps for each component city, so New York ends up taking up a huge portion of the map.
But, despite the undeniable brilliance of this map, I know I’ve seen very similar pieces before this. This more serious map of almost exactly the same thing was featured on the Beyond DC blog last month, and this awesome piece by Bill Rankin from 2006 which shows all North American metro systems (a far more inclusive phrase than “subway systems”) at the same scale is also highly reminiscent of this piece. In the end though, it’s infused with enough wacky “xkcd-ness” to make it take on a life of its own.
Historical Map: Preferred Rapid Transit Scheme, Toronto, 1910
A rather lovely (and somewhat prescient) figure from a report prepared by the New York engineering firm of Jacobs & Davies for the City of Toronto in 1910. It shows plans for a system of “subway streetcars” — a combination of at-grade and subterranean routes — both ahead of its time and prohibitively expensive, especially for a modest city like Toronto at the time (which had a population of just 350,000).
Official Map: CTrain, Calgary, Canada
Lots of people have requested this map, but I’ve held off for a while as some extensions to the system and amendments to the map itself have been made. Calgary Transit actually released a preliminary version of this map last year and asked for public input on it via an on-line survey, which is good to see. However, it’s not the most thrilling map, and there’s still one quirk with it that could cause some confusion.
Have we been there? No.
What we like: Clean, minimal, easy-to-follow design. No extraneous bells and whistles to get in the way of a relatively simple system.
What we don’t like: I really don’t see the need to alternate the station labels between the left and right hand side of the route lines when they run vertically. The names would be much easier to quickly read if they just ran underneath each other to the right of the route line, much like a bulleted list. It looks particularly odd on the southern part of the Red Line, where Victoria Park/Stampede and Elton/Stampede are both to the right, and then the rest alternate.
The quirk I mention above regards the handling of the stations along 7th Avenue in the “Downtown Area” of the map. City Hall is the only station in the section where both lines run that serves both directions of travel — the rest of the stations alternate directions. The 1st, 4th and 7th Street stops serve all westbound trains, and the 8th, 6th, 3rd and Centre Steet stops serve all eastbound trains.
The designers have tried to show this by use of a directional arrow near each station. However, by placing these arrows within the coloured route lines, it could be interpreted that only Blue Line trains travel west and only Red Line trains travel east along this corridor. This ambiguity could have been averted by placing the arrows within the station dots or next to the station names themselves, where it would be almost impossible to misinterpret their intention.
However, the approach used here is still markedly better than the one used on the preliminary sample map, which placed the dots for all westbound trains in the Blue Line, and all eastbound dots in the Red Line! Now that would have been confusing!
Our rating: Workmanlike and honest, if a little dull. Two-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Official Calgary Transit website)
End of the Line
Great focus point and shallow depth of field here. Fun angle, too.
Historical Photo: TTC Subway Map on the Opening of the Bloor-Danforth Line (1966)
You know, I can pretend I’m interested in the subway map in the background, but this photo is all about the awesome uniform the TTC staff member is wearing, so let’s just go with that.
(Source: @CongestedTO on Twitter)
Fantasy Map: History of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Submitted by just about the entire population of Toronto, I think.
Created by Spacing’s Matthew Blackett in a collaboration with designer Jamie Hodgson, this subway-style map attempts to present a brief history of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team.
Now, as an Australian, I’ll fully admit that my knowledge of ice hockey is a little thin, and I know even less about the Maple Leafs franchise. For me, ice hockey is that one question hiding in the Trivial Pursuit card deck that I have absolutely no idea about… my answer is always, “uhhh…. Wayne Gretzky?” However, this map is well-designed enough that I can piece together the important stuff… especially that the team was once highly successful and now seems to have fallen on harder times. The note regarding the indefinite delay of the construction of the Stanley Cup Line speaks volumes about the team’s long-suffering fans.
What I really like about this map is that the thematic lines are linked when appropriate. A player was a captain and a Hall of Famer? Stops on both lines! There are plenty of other thematic maps out there that just drop names at random onto something that may (or may not) resemble an actual subway map and call it a day, so it’s nice to see some proper thought being put into this one.
(Source: Spacing Toronto)
Montréal Métro Map Weirdness
Submitted by Steve Rohde, who’s noticed an odd little optical illusion in the Montréal Métro map…
Steve says: One little annoyance that didn’t get fixed in this update is an illusion that causes the subway route width appear to vary. Compare the following two Orange Line segments:
Segment 1 looks thinner than segment 2, probably due to the difference in station density.