Unofficial Future Map: Metro Denver Rapid Transit by Steve Boland
Long-time readers will know that I’m not a huge fan of Denver’s current light rail map (April 2013, 2 stars). And it seems that I’m not the only one, as Steve Boland of San Francisco Cityscape has turned his hand to designing a new map. We’ve featured his excellent Bay Area Rapid Transit map previously (Feb. 2013, 4.5 stars).
His Denver map includes all the FasTracks extensions — light rail along I-225 through Aurora, BRT lanes on US 36 to Boulder and new commuter rail lines to all points north, including a line out to Denver International Airport (finally!). Interestingly, he’s chosen to color-code the services by corridor, rather than by route designation, which actually works quite nicely and simplifies the map in the dense downtown core. The map also makes the peak-hour only nature of the “C” and “F” light rail routes visually obvious on the map by adding a white stroke to their route line: a nice usability touch.
Technically, the map is infinitely better drawn than the official one: no wobbly route lines here! I do miss the sweeping arc that the light rail lines make from Auraria West around to Union Station — I always felt that if it was drawn better, it could be the defining visual “hook” of the official map — but the squared off look does fit in well with the overall aesthetics of this map.
Personally, I find the kink in the “G” line at Aurora a little visually distracting in such a clean diagram, but Steve tells me he really wanted to show how the line leaves the I-225 corridor at that point. As he consistently labels all the main roads that transit travels along on the map, this is probably a fair point.
An oddity: without knowing how all the new lines will fit into RTD’s fare structure, the map has to constrain that information to the currently existing parts of the system — which actually highlights the new parts rather nicely.
Our rating: That’s much better! Clean, crisp, functional informational design that builds excitement for the future of transit in Denver. Four stars.
(Source: sfcityscape website — GIF)
An old Boston T map peeks out from underneath the broken remnants of a recent edition, somewhere along the Orange Line in May 2013. It’s interesting to see that while the two maps occupy the same physical space, their use of it is much different. The older, simpler map fills up its space with bold lines and large type, while the modern map is more geographically based and complex — with the addition of bus routes and the Silver Line — and the type on it is correspondingly smaller.
(Source: Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council - MAPC/Flickr - Photographer: Jessie Partridge)
Historical Map: “Future Growth and Improvement” Map for Lansing, Michigan, 1921
Here’s a simply beautiful map from the 1920s, showing a comprehensive proposed future plan for the city. Along with the extensive and fastidious plans for the extension of the city’s street grid (the web of red extending outwards from the core), the map also shows existing and proposed streetcars with solid and dashed thicker red lines, respectively.
The map also audaciously proposes that the main line railroads be placed onto an elevated viaduct through downtown, something that never actually happened.
Finally, I absolutely love the graceful hand-drawn typography on this — stunning!
Video: New NYC Transit Touch Screens
Neat little video from Gizmodo giving an overview of the new touch screen maps/informational kiosks at Grand Central. Is it just me, or does it take forever for the map to find and draw a requested route?
Historical Maps: Surface Trolley Lines and Elevated/Subway Lines of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, 1913
A superb pair of maps that depict the trolley lines (top) and elevated and subway lines (bottom) of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) Company as they would appear after the work specified in the famous “Dual Contracts" agreement was completed. Much of today’s existing subway system came about because of this contract, as can be seen from the red (proposed) lines on the lower map.
For me, the top map is even more interesting — it shows how incredibly dense the trolley system in Brooklyn was at the time.
(Source: University of Texas Library map collection)
What an amazing trash pile find! Not much more to add - the original post below pretty much says it all:
SEPTA - July, 1983 Station Map.
This map is from the first year that SEPTA had become fully responsible for the operations of the commuter rail system in Philadelphia. I acquired this map a little while ago while wandering around West Philly with a friend where I saw a large pile of trash by the old water tower along the rail line. In that pile, I came upon this map and asked my housemate (he has a car) to swing by and grab it for me later as it was too large, heavy and filled with nails to carry it around with me all day. It has lived outside on our porch until a few weeks ago when my housemate took it upon himself of getting it off the plywood it had been secured to. As of today it was free from the board, after it broke a few drill bits, and I began the cleaning up process. It’s much better looking now but it has a very strange smell to it that I can’t exactly place or get rid of.
Every time I look at this map I’m reminded about how much transportation has changed in Philly since this was made. I think about such things frequently, quite frequently actually as its kind of my thing.
Today after cleaning it I wrote up a list of the stations that have been closed and added since this map was made. With this list I hope to go forward and document what I can (I already have a good start on this) about the stations that have been closed or altered.
Things to note on this map:
Market East Station does not exist at this point in time. All trains that had previously been part of the Reading Railroad System truncated at Reading Terminal Station, service to Reading Terminal ended on November 6, 1984 and shortly thereafter the Market East Station opened and connected the old Reading lines to the rest of the SEPTA system.
The Fox Chase Line that exists now once extended to Newtown and the history of this line in the Conrail and early SEPTA days is kind of storied and riddled with problems (accidents included). Rail buses replaced the aging Budd RDCs and finally operations ceased on September 3, 1985. Conrail did run trains on it until at least 1988 when a speeding motorist at a grade crossing in Newtown, PA hit a switch train.
The current Cynwyd Line once continued on to Ivy Ridge across the Pencoyd Viaduct until operations ceased on October 25,1986. The line was originally part of the Pennsy system as the Schuylkill Branch and went as far north as Wilkes-Barre through trackage rights that the Pennsy had of smaller lines in NE Pennsylvania. At the time of writing this, the Cynwyd Heritage Trail has plans to open the viaduct up as an extension of their path across the Schuylkill River.
The current Media/Elwyn Line at the time this map was made extended further to West Chester. Operations truncated on the line past Elwyn on September 19, 1986 and there is work currently being done to restore operations to Wawa. The Wawa Station originally was part of the West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad that was later absorbed by the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad, which was controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad (referred to mostly as the Pennsy here).
Finally, the Airport Line that we know and love did not exist until April 28, 1985. This line runs along what was originally part of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad.
Please find the stations on this map that have been closed listed below with any information I know or think I know about when they closed. Obviously, there are a lot of things to note about this map that I haven’t included, or in the histories of lines that I summarized above. Railroad history, including our regional rail system history in Philadelphia is quite a full history and I’m currently very tired and hungry.
Wissinoming - 2003
Frankford - 1990’s
Frankford Junction - 1990’s
West Trenton Line
Tabor - 1992
Logan - ?
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Fox Chase (Newtown) Line
Newtown - 1983- 1985
George School - 1983- 1985
Village Shires/Buck Road - 1983- 1985
Holland - 1983- 1985
Churchville - 1983- 1985
Southampton - 1983- 1985
County Line - 1983- 1985
Bryn Athyn - 1983- 1985
Huntingdon Valley - 1983- 1985
Walnut Hill - 1983- 1985
Logan - ?
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Fulmor – 1996?
Tabor - 1992
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Fellwick - 1996
Tabor - 1992
Logan - ?
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Chestnut Hill East Line
Fishers - 1992
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Chestnut Hill West Line
Westmoreland - 1994
Mogees - 1992
Shawmont - 1996
Cynwyd (Ivy Ridge) Line
Barmouth - 1986
Manayunk – Upper Level - 1986
Ivy Ridge – Upper Level - 1986
Media/Elwyn (West Chester) Line
West Chester - 1986
West Chester State College - 1986
Westtown - 1986
Cheyney - 1986
Glen Mills - 1986
Wawa - 1986
Lenni - 1986
Glen Riddle - 1986
Williamson School - 1986
Broad - Ridge Spur
Spring Garden Street - 1991
Sharon Hill Trolley Line
Shisler Avenue - 2010
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.
Official Map: Bus Network of Brownsville, Texas
A strong entry into the Transit Maps Hall of Shame from Brownsville, Texas, with this map that depicts the Brownsville Urban System (or “BUS” — I see what they did there).
Where to start with this awfulness? Probably with the graduated blue background that causes visual dissonance (that shimmering edge when colours clash horribly) with just about everything else on the map, especially the red street name labels! It also makes the underlying grey road network almost impossible to make out.
How about the myriad different dashes, dots, and line thicknesses used to denote the different routes? Because so many different line types are used, the Brownsville city limits (also depicted with a dashed line) end up looking like another route that encircles the city!
The inset that shows the location of stops at “NSTS” is absolutely impossible to make out. There’s an enormous and ugly compass rose that dominates the entire map and a whole other north pointer, just in case. There’s some absolutely appalling typography across the entire map. There’s a very precise scale (1:19,500) that would only apply if you printed the map out at its full 30” x 36” poster size, but also a warning that the “map is not to scale”. I could go on, but I won’t.
Our rating: If I actually had an icon for negative stars, I’d probably use it. Zero.
(Source: Official Brownsville Metro site)
Historical Map: Southern Pacific “Red Electric” Tracks in Downtown Portland, c. 1920
Scanned from the book “The Red Electrics: Southern Pacific’s Oregon Interurbans" by Tom Dill and Walter Grande.
This handsome map shows the routing of the Southern Pacific’s electric interurban trains through downtown Portland from their northern terminus at Union Station. These trains, popularly known as the “Red Electrics” after their distinctive carriages, ran from Portland all the way down the Willamette Valley as far as Corvallis, 85 miles distant. Service started in 1914, extended to Corvallis in 1917 and ceased in 1929; just 15 years later.
These big, heavy trains ran right down the middle of Fourth Avenue from Union Station with an intermediate stop at Stark and Fourth. At Fourth and Jefferson, the lines split into two services: the “Westside” route served Beaverton, Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Carlton, while the “Eastside” line served Oswego, Sherwood, Newberg and Lafayette. The two routes connected in Saint Joseph, just north of McMinnville, and then continued to Corvallis.
Of further interest, the map also shows the route of the competing Oregon Electric company, running down 10th Avenue and Salmon Street. Their terminus station was at 10th and Hoyt (the train barns still exist, repurposed as fancy loft apartments on either side of 10th Avenue), with stations at 10th and Stark, 10th and Alder, Salmon and 5th/6th, and Jefferson and Front (modern-day Naito). Also seen is the incredible network of streetcar lines at the time, visible on almost every downtown street!
Submission - Unofficial MARTA (Atlanta, GA) Map by Andrew Whited
Now this I like!
Part of an overall identity project for MARTA that Andrew completed, here’s his stylish revision of the system map (I reviewed the official one way, way back in October 2011, giving it a pretty generous 3 stars).
The MARTA system isn’t that complex — essentially only having two intersecting trunk lines with a couple of branches — so simplifying it down and abstracting it like this works really well. The slightly muted colour palette (almost like the route line colours have been multiplied with the background grey) is quite lovely and subtle. There’s also some lovely bespoke icons for restrooms and the airport, and the legend is both comprehensive and attractive.
A couple of quibbles — the spacing of stations on the Green/Blue lines east of the main Five Points interchange could be better — Georgia State is pushed right up close to the Five Points label (the station dots are much closer to the Yellow Line than the Dome/Arena dots are to the Red Line on the other side), The way the labels drop down after the Green Line ends also creates a visual gap between Edgewood and East Lake stations. The dots may be evenly and mathematically placed along this line, but sometimes things have to be tweaked and eyeballed until they look right. I’d probably also make all the labels just a little bit bigger — there’s plenty of room and it would suit the fat, chunky look of the route lines nicely.
Finally, I love the super simple, stylised highways that sit behind the map (including a good old literal “ring road”), but I do have to make a correction: Andrew has labelled them as U.S. Routes, when they’re actually Interstate Highways — that is, it’s not “U.S. 20”, but “I-20”, etc. And I know my Interstates from my U.S. Routes!
Our rating: Pretty yummy stuff! I’d definitely click through to Andrew’s site to check out the whole rebranding project — maps, signage, trains, buses, tickets, the works! Four stars!