Using the Floor Map as a Guide
We’ve feautured a transit map on the ceiling of a train before, so why not one on the floor as well?
This map shows the suburban and regional train network surrounding Milan in Italy: Milan’s Metro system can be seen in between our two touristy friends. Reading the departures board in the background, I’d hazard a guess that this map is at the Garibaldi FS station. Awkward to use when the station is really busy, though…
Subterranean Veins of Europe
Here’s an interesting “map” of Europe’s subway systems that was originally featured in a weekly cultural supplement to Milan’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper. The map looks fantastic, and allows all sorts of comparisons between the underground rail systems of Europe, from cost of tickets (cleverly shown as a blue ring of differing thicknesses: the thicker the ring, the more expensive a ticket is), users per day, total length of each system and even a simple chronological ordering of each line opening for the larger systems. I especially like the length comparisons to other long things in Europe at the bottom right.
The English translations are somewhat imperfect (I’m presuming it read a lot better in the original Italian), but everything is pretty understandable, as a good infographic should be!
However, there is one major flaw with this graphic: the large circles around each city are labelled as “radius”, which leads me to expect that the circle shows the relative geographic size of each system. However, it actually uses the entire system length as the radius, which is almost entirely pointless and greatly exaggerates the relative size of the systems. For example, London’s “radius” is shown as a massive 402km (250 miles), when the actual maximum geographical radius is closer to 30km (18.5 miles). Paris’ incredibly dense Metro network (almost all contained within the Boulevard Périphérique) suddenly becomes a huge circle that gives little idea of the system’s tight spacing. It’s a strange design decision that distorts the data underlying the graphic badly, in my opinion.
Nice shot of an in-car strip map from Milan.
Official Map: Milan Metro and Suburban Rail Service
Milan’s Metropolitana subway system is Italy’s largest, and is supported by a comprehensive network of suburban and regional trains. It’s also linked by an amazing tram system, but no indication of those services, or connections to it, are presented on this map.
Have we been there? Yes, although I didn’t use the Metro, preferring to walk around Milan’s dense historic core.
What we like: Use of blue for the thinner suburban rail lines gives them their own distinct look while still being subordinate to the more important Metro lines. Comprehensive set of informational icons, although this does lead to some “icon overload” at Centrale and Cadorna stations. Important information is in Italian and English. Good accessibility information.
What we don’t like: A total absence of curved corners on routes gives a very severe, almost formal look to the map, as does the all-caps typeface used (which, despite being a bespoke typeface created for this map, ends up looking very similar to Franklin or News Gothic). The tinted colours behind the terminus station names, while effective at differentiating those stations from normal stations, looks a little old-fashioned.
Our rating: While this map looks quite sterile, it presents information quite clearly. I also feel that this look is totally intentional, as the streets of Milan’s historic medieval core are twisty and narrow. The contrast between those streets and the more direct routing of the modern subway is effectively highlighted in this map. Three-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Official ATM website)