Official Map: New York/New Jersey Regional Transit Diagram — Full Review
After our first glimpse yesterday, now it’s time for a more in-depth look at this map. Thanks to everyone who sent me a link to the PDF (and there were more than a few of you)!
First things first: this MTA press release confirms that the map was designed by Yoshiki Waterhouse of Vignelli Associates. It’s definitely nice to see that the original creators of the diagram continue to shape its future, rather than being handed off to another design team.
That said, the original source that this map is based off — the 2008 revision of Vignelli’s classic 1970s diagram, as used on the MTA’s “Weekender” service update website — actually creates some problems for this version of the map.
Because the bright primary colours used for the Subway’s many route lines are so much a part of the map’s look (and indeed, the very fabric of the Subway itself, appearing on signage and trains across the entire system) it forces the NJ Transit, PATH and Amtrak routes shown to be rendered in muted pastel tones in order to differentiate them from the Subway. This results in a visual imbalance between the New York and New Jersey sides of the map: cool and muted on the left, bright and bold to the right. I also feel that the PATH lines up to 33rd Street become a little “lost” compared to the adjacent subway lines.
The other result of using pastel route lines is a loss of contrast between all those lines: they all register at a similar visual intensity, making them a little harder to differentiate. Because of the sheer number of lines that have to be shown, some of the NJ Transit routes have lost their “traditional” colour as used on their own official map (Nov. 2011, 1.5 stars). The Bergen County Line is no longer light blue, but the same yellow as the Main Line, while the Gladstone Line now uses the same green as the Morristown Line. Their original colours get redistributed to New Jersey’s light rail lines and Amtrak.
Some people have noticed that the map shows weekday off-peak services and commented that this is useless for the Super Bowl, which is held on a Sunday. However, the map has to be useful for the entire week of Super Bowl festivities, not just game day, so I feel it’s doing the best it can under the circumstances. If it really bothers you, @TheLIRRToday on Twitter has made a quick and dirty version of the map that shows weekend service patterns. As as has been pointed out to me, service on Super Bowl Weekend will be close to that of the weekday peak, so the difference is negligible anyway.
What bothers me is the fact that the football icon has an extra row of laces. NFL balls have eight rows of laces — the icon shows nine.
Our rating: Based on the classic Vignelli diagram. While it remains true to its minimalist roots, it doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessors. The need to integrate so many different routes and services while retaining familiar route colours for the Subway mean that the left half of the map isn’t as visually strong as the right. Still far better than many North American transit maps. It would also make a neat souvenir of a trip to the Super Bowl! Three stars.
(Source: NJ Transit “First Mass Transit Super Bowl" web page — also available on the MTA website)
Official Map: New York/New Jersey Regional Transit Diagram for 2014
Hot off the presses via New Jersey Transit’s Twitter account, here’s a first look at a new regional transit map that (finally!) combines New Jersey Transit rail, PATH rail and the New York Subway onto one map to “facilitate ease of travel between all three systems”.
It appears to be heavily based off the Massimo Vignelli “Weekender” diagram, although I don’t know if Vignelli himself (or his studio) was actually involved in the design of this diagram. I’ll try and track down a PDF of the actual map to do a full review.
Submission: Cross-Stitched New York Subway Map
Submitted by Sabina Wolfson, who says:
The cross-stitched “T” map you mentioned reminded me that I have been meaning to submit this for awhile. Cross-sittched NYC subway map from 2010. I took a map and made it into an x-stitch pattern and then my Aunt stitched it for me.
Transit Maps says:
Wow! The 45-degree angularity of most transit maps means that they work well with this type of “pixel-based” art, but Sabina must have been thrilled with the finished result. Mostly based off the Vignelli “Weekender” map, by the look of things.
If you can get past the ridiculously incorrect statement in the second paragraph that the current New York subway map is “loosely based on a famous 1972 design by Massimo Vignelli”, then this is a fun overview of maps from 1924 to the current day. It’s nothing you can’t already find at the NYCSubway.org website with a little digging, but it’s nice to see them all on one page.
Future Map: FutureNYCSubway by vanshnookenraggen
An updated look at my futureNYCSubway proposal using an expanded Vignelli map.
More excellent work from Andrew Lynch (aka vanshnookenraggen) — this time, an astoundingly well-considered analysis of future plans for the New York Subway. The resultant map is quite beautiful as well, based as it is off Massimo Vignelli’s 2008/Weekender revision of his classic 1970s map.
I strongly encourage you to click through to Andrew’s website and read the full rationale behind this map: this isn’t just “fantasy”, it’s a well-balanced view of the potential future of the subway in New York. You can also download a PDF of the map for personal use (sweet!).
Submission - Aerial Photo of New York City with Rail Lines Superimposed
Fantastic work from Transit Maps reader Arnorian showing the New York Subway, PATH and NJ Transit Lines on top of an aerial photograph of central New York City. When you view a transit system like New York’s through the limitations of a small printed or on-line map (be it the official map, the Vignelli diagram or even the hybrid Kick Map), it’s easy to forget just how big and complex it is. A representation like this shows that complexity and scale to full effect, and also looks quite breathtakingly gorgeous.
Bigger image in this Skyscrapercity forum thread.
Update: I’ve replaced the image with a newer version that has been amended to take into account some comments that readers have made. I’d also like to properly attribute the photographer who took the photo that the map is overlaid on: Dennis Dimick — go and check out his Flickr stream!
Historical Map: New York Metropolitan Transit Authority 1968 Plan for Rail Improvement and Transit Expansion
Courtesy of the new and already indispensable hyperrealcartography Tumblr, here’s a simply stunning set of New York transit planning maps from the late 60s.
In this modern age of computer-aided map design, a lot of time can be spent trying to digitally replicate this watercolour look, but it’s hard to beat the real thing (although Stamen’s lovely map tiles do a pretty good job!).
The north pointer — successfully and cleverly integrating the then-brand-new MTA logo — is also worthy of note.
Historical Map: New York City Transit System Morning Peak Flow, 1954
A beautiful old map showing scheduled morning peak service (both actual service and absolute maximum capacity) into Manhattan below 60th Street. The thicker the lines, the greater the service — much like modern service frequency maps! Being 1954, the subway is still divided into its three separately run divisions: BMT (Yellow), IRT (Blue) and IND (Red).
(Source: Ward Maps’ Facebook Page — lots of amazing old maps here!)
Here’s how it works: Each turn, you build some track and add a new station. And so do your opponents. Because you’re not the only line in town, you have competition. Your goal is to serve as many desirable blocks as possible, while keeping your opponents at bay. How? Well, every piece of track you lay down cannot be crossed. So every turn, you are building walls. The only way through is via stations.
Over time a subway system will develop, its layout determined by how you and your opponents have chosen to play the game.
I would buy this game in a heartbeat.