Historical Photo: Detroit Department of Street Railways (DSR) Coach and Car Stop Locator, c. 1955
An interesting twist on the old push-button interactive transit map. Instead of pressing a button to map out your route, here you press a button to find out where in Detroit’s downtown area to board your bus or streetcar. Although difficult to make out, the text along the bottom of the map seems to read: “To locate your loading zone, press button on your line.” I’m not entirely sure how successful this innovation was, as everyone in the photo seems to have an air of confusion about them.
(Source: WSU Virtual Motor City Collection)
Welcome to the second installment of the top ten most-viewed posts (as determined by Google Analytics) on the Transit Maps blog. I try and do these every four months (three times a year) to highlight some great content that may now be hiding in the deep, dark depths of the blog. Enjoy!
First off, here’s the top ten posts for the four-month period of May 1 to August 31, 2012.
10. Miami-Dade Metrorail System (link)
9. Man-Made Philadelphia, 1972 (link)
8. Rail and Tram Network, Budapest, Hungary (link)
7. Copenhagen S-Tog Map (link)
6. Freshwater Railway, Detroit and Southeast Michigan (link)
5. Chicago El Overlaid On New York City (link)
4. Berlin S- and U-Bahn Maps, 1910-1936 (link)
3. National Parks Transit Authority Map (link)
2. Transportation of Walt Disney World Resort, Florida (link)
1. How the WMATA Rush+ Maps Are Printed (link)
Now the top 10 of all time list, from the start of the site back in October 2011. The previous position from the last all-time top ten is noted in [square brackets].
10. Copenhagen S-Tog Map (link) [NEW]
9. London Underground Tube Map Bathroom Tiles (link) 
8. New Jersey Transit Rail System (link) 
7. How the WMATA Rush+ Maps Are Printed (link) [NEW]
6. Vignelli-Style New York Subway Ampersand (link) 
5. Berlin S- and U-Bahn Maps, 1910-1936 (link) 
4. Washington D.C. Metro “Rush+” System Map (link) 
3. Chicago El Overlaid On New York City (link) 
2. Official Boston MBTA Rapid Transit/Key Bus Routes Map (link) 
1. Man-Made Philadelphia, 1972 (link) 
Fantasy Map: Freshwater Railway, Detroit and Southeast Michigan
This map has to be part of the most convincing fantasy transit system I have ever seen. As well as this stylish and distinctive map, there’s an entire website, complete with additional bus maps, timetables and more. I’ll also note here that the website design puts most transit agencies to shame…
If you weren’t familiar with Detroit, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was real (I kind of wonder how many tourists have been tricked into thinking this system exists). It’s only when you realise that the trains “depart” from the derelict Michigan Central Station (which is also Freshwater Rail’s business address), that the elaborate hoax is revealed.
Have we been there? Yes, to visit my father-in-law. He lives in South Lyon and works at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, so he’d still have to drive to work unless the connections were remarkably good…
What we like: Attractive and distinctive map, based on 30-degree angles instead of the usual 45. It’s nice to see a map that forges its own identity and is not afraid to look different, even if it’s not real. The pastel route lines with their thick black borders are surprisingly effective, and together with the typeface chosen (Brandon Grotesque), create a lovely Art Deco feel to the whole map. Part of a greater, entirely cohesive whole - this is seriously impressive work.
What we don’t like: Not entirely in favour of the type angled up at 60 degrees, as I feel it makes the map harder to read, but acknowledge that it suits the design aesthetic of the map quite well.
Our rating: Astounding. 5 stars!
(Source: Freshwater Railway website - WARNING: EXTREMELY CONVINCING!)