Official Map: Transit of Magdeburg, Germany
Submitted by keks63, who says:
I really enjoy your blog, so I thought I would submit the transit map of my nearest German city.
The network features 9 tram lines (1 to 10, they did not make a line 7 for some reason), and several bus and ferry lines. The city has about 200,000 inhabitants, and the tram serves all the important areas, you do not need a car to live in Magdeburg, which is very nice. I find this map quite good to use, however there is some confusion going on around “Alter Markt” and “Allee-Center” stations. But all in all, I think it’s a good transit map for a medium-sized German city.
Transit Maps says:
This is almost the archetypal German transit map: clean and clinical design that conveys a lot of information without any fuss. The trams are given the highest priority, followed by the bus lines and then the S-bahn, which has its station names highlighted in the distinctive green used almost universally across Germany for such services.
While I don’t necessarily find the Alter Markt/Allee-Center area difficult to understand, the way the routes seem to overlap randomly as they cross here is a little odd. There’s also one glaring mistake: the icons cover the station name at Jerichower Platz on the east side of the map where tram lines 5 and 6 join.
Our rating: About as German as a transit map can be. Three-and-a-half stars.
Source: Official MVB website
Submission - Official Map: Stadtbus Gmünd, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
Let’s continue our recent look at small- to medium-sized German bus networks with this network map from Schwäbisch Gmünd in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, submitted by Bert.
I find this map interesting, because it really shouldn’t work as well as it does. While simplified, there doesn’t seem to be any real logic or unifying design principles behind the angles used for the route lines: they just seem to be drawn to make the routes fit together. Despite that, the map is pretty easy to follow and use. Part of that comes from the fact that there’s only ten different routes to show – it’s always easier to make a comprehensible map for a simple system – but some thought seems to have been put into making the labels as legible as possible and the route lines as easy to follow as they can be. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s a bajillion times better than the awful effort from Marburg, and probably even as successful as the map from Göttingen.
Our rating: Somehow better than the sum of its parts. Three stars.
Source: Stadtbus Gmünd website
Submission – Official Map: Bus Network of Göttingen, Germany
Submitted by Hubert at the same time as the awful Marburg map. Of this map, Hubert says:
Check out the intertwined lines in the city center! I find this approach very interesting and useful and I would really like to hear your thoughts about this.
Transit Maps says:
The intertwined (or “candy-striped”) lines in the city centre are definitely the most interesting thing about this map. The rest of it is a competent, if unexciting, diagram of bus services. Executed better than the horror of the Marburg map, but nothing too brilliant to be seen. The light green colour of the suburb name labels should serve as a lesson to the Marburg map makers, though!
Then we get to the middle of town, and the designers start to combine lines that follow the same one-way routes through town to save some space. I’m not normally a big advocate of this approach, because it can make routes more difficult to trace from end to end, but it really works well here.
Why? Because the designers have grouped similar colours together for each “bundle” of routes. So you have a “blue” grouped route, and “green”, “pink/purple” and “brown”, which means tracing the routes through the city is actually pretty easy. Note also that the angle of the striping is not quite at 45 degrees, which means you get to see all the colours used when the route line is at 45 degrees. Nicely done!
Our rating: A pretty standard bus diagram until you get to the city centre, which is really quite excellent. Combined, the map turns out to be just a little better than average. Three stars.
Submission – Official Map: Bus Network of Marburg, Germany
Submitted by Hubert, who says:
You really should review more ugly, messed up maps as they serve as deterrent examples. This eyesore of a map is what made me aware of the fact that transit map design is not as easy as it seems.
I once sat in line 7 and it took me twenty minutes to figure out whether the bus served the Elisabethkirche Station in my direction of travel. This is literally the worst transit map I’ve ever seen.
Transit Maps says:
It’s pretty hard to disagree with Hubert’s assessment of this map, which is a confusing, seething mass of route lines running at all sorts of random angles. Working out where some routes go in the central part of town is almost impossible, especially out of Elisabethkirche (as Hubert mentions), where some lines appear to head in both directions when they reach a T-junction just below that stop.
The labelling of suburbs/surrounding towns is poor: text badly aligned to heavy-handed grey boxes, which are jammed in wherever they’ll fit. The location of these labels also leads me to realise that the whole map is rotated so that east is at the bottom of the map (Cappel and Gisselberg are to the south of Marburg, not to the west). Being generous, this could align with a local’s view of the city, as it’s arranged along the banks of the north-south running River Lahn (not shown on the map), but would adding a north pointer for clarity really have been that hard?
For me, the map isn’t quite as bad as this one from Meiningen (although it bears a lot of similarities), but it’s pretty darn close. Ugly, technically deficient and almost entirely useless.
Sidenote: Lines 1 through 20 (with some gaps), then Line 383? What’s that about?
Our rating: Still bad enough for no stars, even if it is just a teensy bit better than Meiningen’s dismal effort.
Source: Stadtwerk Marburg website
Submission - Unofficial Maps: Redesigned Metro Maps of the World
Submitted by Jug Cerovic, who says:
I completed a set of new schematic metro maps of 12 cities using a common standard. I have tried to make easy to read, memorize and use maps but at the same time pleasant looking. Crowded centers are enlarged and specific features such as ring lines highlighted.
You can see all the maps here.
Transit Maps says:
You all know that I love an ambitious transit mapping project, and this is up there with the most ambitious I’ve seen. Jug has taken twelve of the most iconic metro maps out there — New York, Mexico City, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, London, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo — and redesigned them all using a standardised design style, font (looks like DIN) and square format.
Despite the common language, the maps still manage to look unique to their city: no easy feat! Jug has managed to impart a very stylish feel to the maps by the use of large, sweeping curves instead of tight angles. There’s some nice information hierarchy too, with Metro/Subway/U-Bahn lines getting full, bright colours while commuter rail/S-Bahn lines are rendered in muted pastel colours.
I would say that some of the maps are more successful than others (Moscow falls a bit flat for me, while New York is incredibly dense and crowded), but this is still an outstanding example of strong unifying design principles applied well across a wide variety of different transit maps.
You should definitely head over to the project website to view and compare all twelve maps; there’s also prints for sale!
Reflected Berlin U- and S-Bahn map. I like this photo a lot.
You are here.
Historical Map: Hamburg Hoch- und Untergrundbahn, c. 1912
A beautiful old map showing Hamburg’s Ringbahn and spur lines. I believe that this map is from no later than January 1912, and it may be from even earlier, as the legend denotes that all the routes shown in red (the beginnings of today’s U-Bahn system) are “intended for execution” — that is, planned or under construction, not actually built.
Construction of the Ringbahn began in 1906, and the first section between Rathaus and Barmbek stations was opened on February 15, 1912. The ring was completed by the end of June that year. The spur lines as shown on this map opened in stages between 1913 and 1915.
See also this amazing Hamburg train carriage ceiling map from 1915.
The Hamburg subway in 1912.
you might find this interesting: we’ve recently released a project about the limited accessibility of public transport (subway + commuter trains) in New York, London and Hamburg. The results are maps with an interactive slider that let you explore how thinned out the transportation network get’s when you’re handicapped e.g.
here’s a mapgif-preview:
and here all the information about the project http://mappable.info/blog/2014/2/8/accessibility
Transit Maps says:
The depiction of physical accessibility on transit maps of is something I’ve touched on before — see this great 2007 map of the London Underground with all the inaccessible stations removed (Nov. 2011, 5 stars) — but this is a fantastic and intuitive way to show the difference between all stations and only the accessible ones.
You should definitely click through to the full blog entry about this project and see the full interactive maps that have been created for New York, Hamburg and London. If you’ve been inspired, they also give ideas and instructions on how to create a similar map for the transit in your city.
Historical Map: Thüringerwaldbahn Tram Mural, Tabarz, East Germany, 1989
A photo from 1989 of a newly-painted mural celebrating 60 years of the Thüringerwaldbahn, an interurban tram service running 22km between Gotha and Tabarz.
As the original poster on Flickr notes, the scale of the map is “fanciful”, but it’s really meant more as a (rather lovely) decorative overview than an actual map.
I’d be interested to know if the mural is still there, some 24-odd years later.