Infographic: Circle Loop Lines of the World by Matthew Lew
Very aesthetically appealing infographic that compares 18 circle railway lines from around the world. The top part of the graphic displays the lines in a schematic fashion, representing each by its average diameter. The stations that comprise each line are then simply spaced evenly around the circumference to create a very striking pattern. Stations that interchange with other lines are represented by placing a small white dot in the centre of a station’s marker.
Below, information about each line — the number of stations, number of interchanges with other lines, the line’s length and radius, etc. — is displayed, along with a list of all the stations that make up each line. The colour-coding of the lines is designed to create a pleasing visual effect —working its way in order through the colour spectrum — rather than using each line’s “traditional” colour from their respective maps. While this is an understandable design choice, it’s still a little weird to see London’s Circle Line represented by a lovely shade of lime green.
For those who can’t quite make it out, the Circle lines represented (in ascending order of diameter) are:
Overall, this graphic looks great and provides an interesting, easily digestible, comparison between all these loop railroads. It would be interesting to see a version that plotted the actual routes and stations accurately against each other, rather than this heavily stylised view.
(Source: Matthew Lew’s Behance portfolio)
Unofficial Map: Minimalist Glasgow Subway by Verboten Creative
A system as simple as Glasgow’s (one loop of track with a mere 15 stations) lends itself well to a minimalist design approach. Indeed, the current official map is pretty darn simple itself.
However, this neat little two-colour poster from Glasgow-based creative agency, Verboten, definitely takes a very different approach to that minimalism. It eschews any attempt at geography, dispensing with the River Clyde completely (although the gaps between the groups of stations give away its location for those in the know). Red lines lead way from large station dots to the corresponding station names, as well as a handy list of nearby points of interest (but not connections to other rail services).
For me, these connecting lines are the weakest point of the poster, being overly busy in some cases (Bridge St, for example) for a “minimalist” poster. I’m also not fond of the way that the lines for Cessnock and Kinning Park cross over each other: Cessnock could easily fit under Ibrox and negate the need for the crossover at all.
The “G” logo is a clever idea: reminiscent of the new “S” logo that the subway has adopted without being derivative of it. I just wish the “G” was centred a little better in the circle (it seems too far to the left to me).
Our rating: Despite my minor quibbles, this is still a very attractive interpretation of this venerable transit system. I especially like the interesting colour palette: soft, yet still dynamic at the same time. Three stars.
Official Maps: In-Car Strip Maps for Loop or Circle Lines
An anonymous follower asks: “Do you have any examples of a line map for a loop/circle line? I’m curious as to how those are implemented.”
Transit Maps says:
Generally, a strip map for a loop or circle line follows much the same principles as a usual one, although the available space may have to be used a little more creatively in order to fit things in. Above are a few interesting examples.
London’s Circle Line: With recent additions, this line is no longer a true loop — for which the travelling public is sincerely thankful, as any problems on the Circle used to impact the District and Hammersmith & City lines terribly, throwing much of the Underground into chaos. From the picture above, it can be seen that the Circle Line’s strip map utilises a much deeper space above the doors than many Underground strip maps do. Often, they run in a single, shallow line above the windows of the carriage. The other lines that share track with the Circle Line are also shown, but not lines that cross it: these are shown as standard interchanges instead.
Chicago’s Orange Line: This line runs around Chicago’s central Loop and returns back the way it came. The map handles things in a pretty straightforward way, although, interestingly, the thickness of the route line halves while it’s going around the loop. The direction of travel around the loop is clearly indicated with arrows.
Tokyo’s Yamanote Line: Of course, the Japanese use technology to display information about their famous circle line! Each car on the Yamanote Line has LCD displays that indicate the current station (the red box), as well as the estimated time to the next few stations. The display alternates between Japanese and English information.
Glasgow Subway: Well, the whole subway is a loop — earning the system the nickname “The Clockwork Orange” — so all their maps look like this. Despite the inner and outer loops travelling in opposite directions, this map neglects to point out which one goes where!
More Tariff Zone Maps: The Ugly Stepsisters of the Transit Map World
Yesterday’s post on Eastern Austria/Greater Vienna’s tariff zone map certainly attracted some attention: I’ve already received quite a few links to similar maps from different (mainly European) locations. Shown here are the tariff zone maps for Munich, Glasgow and Hamburg, all of which are bewildering in their own way.
As some commenters have pointed out to me, these maps seem to be a bit of a necessary evil: the transit agency needs to have some way of conveying their (often complex) fare structure to commuters, who require this information to buy weekly or monthly passes. The larger the system and the more modes of transportation used, the more complex and unwieldy the map becomes.
Because they’re only used by a subset of the total users of the system, these maps don’t always get the same “design love” that the main system map gets… leaving us with something that’s often visually unsatisfying and arcane in its actual usage. In this digital age, I think that a form on the transit agency’s website linked to a database of destinations would actually be a quicker, more user-friendly way for commuters to obtain this information. Enter your starting point, your destination, choose between alternate routes or services if there’s a choice, and you’re then presented with the cost of your pass, which perhaps you could even purchase on-line.
Historic Map: Mid-1980s Glasgow Underground Map
Still in situ at the West Street station. For me, this could be dated to the mid-1980s just by the illustration style alone: this scratchy detailed-but-slightly-cartoony style was all the rage then, and could be found in just about every clip art book of the period (back when you actually physically cut or “clipped” the art from a page!).
(Source: neate photos/Flickr)
Official Map: Glasgow Subway (Before and After)
It’s always fun to do a comparison between old and new maps, and we have a great opportunity with this very recent rebranding of the Glasgow Subway (apparently the third-oldest subway system in the world at 115 years of age, after the London Underground and the Budapest Metro). A deceptively simple system, the Subway consists of a single loop with 15 stations - trains run clockwise on the Outer Circle, and anti-clockwise on the Inner circle. If the font used on the new map looks familiar, it should - it’s Klavika, also used (in a slightly modified form) in the Facebook logo.
The new map definitely lifts the corporate branding standards of the SPT - the map ties in nicely with the new website and station signage and looks new, clean and modern. It’ll be interesting to see if the heavy use of Klavika - a very “now” typeface - dates this work badly in a few years time. Interestingly, the new map doesn’t indicate which direction the Inner and Outer Circles run in, although the arrows were pretty hideous on the old map.
One element of the old map that I do miss with the new is the lovely burgundy colour - it seems like this could have worked very well with the greys in the new map and could have been a very distinctive accent colour. I also feel that the station dots have gone from being too big (on the old map) to too small and disconnected from the station names on the new.
Our rating: Professionally done, modern but perhaps altogether just a little too slick. Three-and-a-half-stars.
(Source: Official SPT website)
A fun pair of photos sent to the @transitmap Twitter account by @alphabetbyrne in Glasgow, Scotland. You can send suggestions or requests to me either on Twitter or via the Ask function here on Tumblr.