Montréal Métro Map Weirdness
Submitted by Steve Rohde, who’s noticed an odd little optical illusion in the Montréal Métro map…
Steve says: One little annoyance that didn’t get fixed in this update is an illusion that causes the subway route width appear to vary. Compare the following two Orange Line segments:
Segment 1 looks thinner than segment 2, probably due to the difference in station density.
Matt Johnson sends these photos of great ads that use a subway map theme that he saw in the Montreal Metro on a recent trip. The interesting thing here is that these aren’t created by an ad agency riffing off the subway map theme, but are produced by the transit agency (the Société de transport de Montréal or STM) themselves, as informational ads regarding public transport and upcoming popular events.
The ads have a nice consistent design look that ties in well with other elements of the STM’s corporate identity. The four colours of the Metro map are integrated nicely, although the one thing the ads do is make the Metro map itself look a little dowdy and old-fashioned in comparison! While the rest of the STM’s look has moved on, the map is still firmly rooted in the past.
Official Map: Bus Routes of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
This map was nominated by Tumblr user Tevi as the worst transit map ever. While I don’t agree, as the map is at least competently drawn, it does have some serious shortcomings, not the least of which is knowing how much detail is too much.
Have we been there? No
What we like: The blue background behind the map is a refreshing change from white or neutral grey, and the north pointer is quite lovely (north pointers are often very generic and boring, so it’s good to see a nice one).
What we don’t like: The first infuriating thing: the lack of a legend or key that explains what the different styles of route lines represent. Why do some have a white dotted line in the middle? Why are some dashed? It was only after 20 minutes of study that I realised that the dotted route lines correspond to Minibus and Taxibus services. I’m still not entirely sure what the dashed lines represent. Peak-hour only?
To my mind, there’s too much unnecessary route detail on the map. Do users of the map really need to see the separate entry and exit ramps that the buses use to access or leave the freeway in order to get to their destination? It just adds extra visual clutter to the map and could be simplified.
The rainbow circle of routes around the Université de Sherbrooke really needs some work, and the less said about the inset of the city centre, the better - it barely shows any more detail than the main map and seems to be very confused. I still can’t work out the exact placement of the Dépot station…
Our rating: At first glance, looks quite good, but has some fatal usability flaws that make it very difficult to use. Two stars.
(Source: Official STS website)
Official Map: Métro de Montréal, Québec, Canada
Requested by pomme-poire-peche
Montréal’s Metro map instantly stands out from the crowd by virtue of its black background - a feature only rarely seen in transit maps. Although the idea of a subway serving Montréal was first tabled in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until 1966 that it finally opened.
Have we been there? No.
What we like: Graphically bold and clean. Black background and subdued colour for the waterways really allow the thick, colourful route lines to stand out. Really like the “coloured square” effect for interchange stations between the Métro and the commuter rail lines. The geography shown, while still based in reality, is abstract enough to work well with the bold route lines.
What we don’t like: I’m not a fan of the small caps type treatment for station names – it breaks up the names and looks awkward when placed in the coloured boxes at the ends of the lines. The north pointer and legend look unfortunately generic, while the placement of the elevator symbols is abysmal (pomme-poire-peche asked me to ignore these, as they apparently aren’t there on the maps in stations, but they’re kind of hard not to notice!). Some of the curves and angles on the commuter rail lines seem poorly chosen or drawn.
Our rating: I love it when a map is so distinctive that it couldn’t possibly be from anywhere else in the world than the city it represents - and this is definitely all Montréal’s. A few minor flaws detract from the overall quality, but this is better than the average map. Three-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Official STM website)