Submission - Unofficial Unified BART/Muni Metro Map by Jamison Wieser
Submitted by Jamison, who says:
I don’t want to share this map as much as the concept behind it.
San Francisco’s Muni Metro light-rail system and the regional BART heavy-rail system share a subway under Market Street and the five busiest rail stations in the Bay Area. They share a subway, but side-by-side the system maps with radically different designs that don’t share anything in common besides the names of the station.
There are 10 lines between the two agencies and between the two maps, 4 of the colors used are duplicated. Topping that off, neither actually refers to the lines by the color. Muni lines have a letter and name, like the N-Judah. BART refers to trains by their destination, which means figuring out where a Richmond train goes means finding Richmond and backtracking along the map. Nearly every time I fly back home I meet a first time visitor who’s confused when the train is announced as a “Pittsburg/BayPoint train” instead of a Yellow line train they expect from the map.
I didn’t want to rename lines so much as just group them into color coded categories based on which subway corridors they run through in Oakland and San Francisco.
It’s exactly how Boston represents branches of the Green.
Muni’s JKLMN lines through Market Street get merged into the “Orange line” and what we called a line before becomes a branch; so the N-Judah line becomes the N-Judah branch of the Orange line. I choose orange for a couple reasons including the fact that the San Francisco Giant’s ballpark sits along it and it was Muni’s brand color at the time the Metro subway opened. The T-Third Street will be running north-south through a new subway under construction to Chinatown and for all the cultural connections and branding reasons the T was given the color red: I just dropped the letter name. At least as long as there isn’t another branch of it.
I narrowed BART from 5 lines to 3 and with only two of the lines branching I didn’t over-complicate it. The Richmond Line, becomes the Richmond brand of the Green Line. I chose the colors here so the Oakland A’s would be served by the team colors green and yellow, and like Berkeley would be served by Cal’s team colors Yellow and Blue (OK, it’s a different, but…)
I’d like you know what you think of this idea?
Transit Maps says:
There’s a lot to be said for unified transit maps — people just want to know how to get from place to place, without the barriers put in place by two (or more) separate maps getting in their way. With the Clipper Card, the transit systems of the Bay Area are becoming increasingly integrated, so some sort of joint map makes great sense.
The main problem, as I think Jamison is discovering in his working map above, is the vastly differing scales of the two networks. BART is a vast commuter/regional rail network that spreads out across the entire Bay Area, while the Muni Metro is a much more compact streetcar/light rail network that’s contained entirely within the City of San Francisco.
However, the Muni network has substantially more stops than BART, spaced much closer together. This means that it’s almost impossible to show the two networks together on the same map and keep things looking cohesive. The same problem is evident in Portland (with the MAX light rail and the Portland Streetcar) and in Sydney (with the Sydney Trains network and the new Inner West light rail). The solution is to only label “important” Muni stations, leaving out most of the street-running stops, as seen on this Bay Area map that I’ve previously featured, and on this newer version of that map.
However, I think the simplification of the multiple routes to branches of coloured routes is very solid, and works well for me. Much the same as the Boston “T” has an underlying rationale behind its colour choices (the Red Line goes to Harvard, whose school colour is crimson, for example), so does Jamison’s vision for San Francisco. Having to ride the Orange Line to the ballpark to see the Giants is bound to annoy opposition fans no end — I love it!
Question: Do you do theoretical maps? Because I’d love to see one of Cincinnati.
Asked by notsammyv.
Transit Maps says:
This is the only future/theoretical map of Cincinnati you ever really need to see. It was made by Michael Tyznik, the same guy who created that amazing Game of Thrones transit map recently.
Not only does it look awesome, but it’s firmly grounded in reality – the map shows what would have been constructed by 2031 if the MetroMoves ballot had been passed back in 2002. It didn’t, and transit in Cincy is still struggling to this day (streetcar woes, anyone?). Click on through to Michael’s site for more details and some more images of the map. He also sells prints!
Submission – Is there an awful typographical error in the New York Subway Map?
Submitted by Nelson Ricardo, who says:
Big typographical oopsie in the latest release of the NYC subway map [September 2014, to coincide with the reopening of the Montague Street Tunnel – Cam]. Station names written horizontally are markedly darker than those written at an angle.
Transit Maps says:
I was all ready to agree with Nelson – I opened the PDF up in my browser and the angled type did look terrible – until I did a little more research and opened up the PDF a few different ways (browser plug-ins vs. Acrobat vs. Preview). In short, not all PDF engines are created equal, and some of them render objects or type in a sub-optimal way.
Opening the PDF in Chrome using the PDF plug-in resulted in “bad” angled text, as did using Preview (which uses Apple’s own PDF engine, not Adobe’s). Opening the PDF in Acrobat Reader or Acrobat Pro on both a Mac and a PC resulted in much better rendering for the angled text, as shown above. Strangely, Safari (Apple’s own browser) uses an Adobe PDF plug-in, so the type renders well there!
For final proof, I managed to unlock the secured MTA map PDF and open it in Illustrator: all the type labels in the above image are 6.92pt Helvetica Bold, regardless of what angle they’re set at.
However, differing amounts of horizontal and vertical scaling have then been applied to the text labels (extremely poor typography!), which is probably what is causing the different PDF engines to render the type so differently.
Source: MTA website (PDF)
Forest Hill Station, Forest Hill
A picture map of the Washington Metropolitan Region, created for the official bicentennial celebration of the American Revolution (1776-1976). Dated 1975.
Please view a full, high-resolution version of the map.
Image 2: This section of the map gives an overview of the District, as well as listing information about different Metrobus stops and the in-progress Metrorail (which opened in March 1976, just before the bicentennial).
Image 3: The map gives an up-close look at different sections of the city and inner-ring suburbs, including: Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Southwest, Capitol Hill, and Old Town Alexandria. These special sections point out landmarks such as Howard University, the Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and Rock Creek Park. It also provides information on famous buildings such as the Willard Hotel, the Old Post Office, and the British Embassy.
Image 4: The last section provides historical details about the District and the surrounding region, including facts about the National Mall, a graph that charts the city’s population growth, and the March on Washington in 1963.
Well, this is just gorgeous (and relevant, as it has a little map of the nascent Metrorail system in the second image).
Jenni Sparks does her meticulously-detailed-yet-organic illustration thing with San Francisco (we’ve previously featured her great NYC map), with BART and Caltrain (really?) given strong visual prominence. Strangely, there’s not a single Muni Metro train, F Line streetcar or cable car to be seen!
Submission - Lukas’ HSR Map Redrawn Digitally by Isaac Fischer
Hi Cameron! This map is in response to the map you posted by Lukas, age 12. I thought that Lukas’s map was quite interesting - the network reminded me of Alfred Twu’s high-speed rail map from last year, and the style was remarkably similar to that of my own hand-drawn maps. However, I thought that the map should not have stopped at a hand-drawn sketch, and so I took a few hours drawing up this map in OmniGraffle. I was hoping that you could pass this map on to Lukas, and I hope that it encourages him to invest in a drawing program to help him in his future cartographic endeavors. (Maybe he could ask for OmniGraffle for his birthday or for Christmas? It’s in about the right price range, although it’s only for Mac, and I know from experience that it’s easy to use even at age 12.)
Transit Maps says:
a faithful rendition of Lucas’ vision that I hope he enjoys seeing! The only difference I see is that Lucas showed the Appalachian line as two separate routes from beginning to end, instead of one line that branches to Detroit or Chicago. And I think his original Columbia Rail logo was meant to represent a high speed train, windows, doors and all.
Work in Progress – Downtown Pittsburgh Neighbourhood Map
Lovely work here, with just enough dimensionality to make things interesting. The “3-D” landmark buildings are nice, but what I really like are the shadows underneath bridges and overpasses that visually lift them up higher than the underlying roads. Some nice insight into workflow, as well – the accuracy of ArcGIS combined with the visual punch some Illustrator work can bring.
Work in progress on neighborhood maps. This map is a part of lager panel that will show bus connections near light rail stations.
I always start with ArcGIS to compile initial data layers, then I style everything in Illustrator. Major landmarks are used to orient transit users in relation to the two-letter stops. The simple 3D shapes can be quickly put together in either Sketchup or directly in Illustrator using ‘extrude and bevel’ tool.
Operationally, Green and Yellow Line trains terminate southbound at the SW Jackson station. All passengers have to disembark there, but the trains do then enter a loop between SW Jackson and the SW College station for a short layover before changing their destination blinds and heading north along 6th Avenue.
So it’s really an individual design decision whether to show that loop or not: it doesn’t exist from a passenger’s perspective, but is required to move trains between the two stations. I personally prefer to show the loop (but also indicate the terminus by use of the correct station marker) because I think it makes more logical sense – how else do the trains get from one station to the other? Teleportation? Interestingly, TriMet used to show the loop for the old western end of the Yellow Line between the Library/9th and Galleria/10th stations before it was rerouted down the 5th/6th Avenue transit mall.
Fantasy Map: Mock-Up Boston MBTA Map Spotted in LA for Filming
Posted by Seiji Tanaka on his Twitter account, here’s a fictional MBTA map at an LA Metro station for film/TV shooting. The map is at the fictional “Rockwater” station on the equally fictional Yellow Line (replacing the real world Orange Line).
We’ve covered fictional transit maps from TV shows and movies before (this weird DC Metro map from the TV show “Leverage” springs to mind), but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one where the prop designers have just downloaded and edited the official map, which is obviously what has happened here. What’s more, it’s been edited really badly.
The blue water and white background of the official map has been removed and the whole map has been placed on a grey/beige background instead… but all the white boxes behind bus route numbers and white keylines around the route lines that were used to separate them from other elements are still in place. Which means there’s a lot of weird, random white elements on the map for no apparent reason. There are also ferry routes, but no water for them to sail across.
Most of the commuter rail routes have been removed, but not all of the stations: Yawkey is just floating in the middle of the map by itself, for example, and interchange stations still retain their extra “blob” for commuter rail platforms.
The real-life Blue line is now Purple, the Green Line is now Blue (with all sorts of branch name errors) and the Orange Line is now Yellow. This line has also had all of its station names changed, mostly to very un-Bostonian names, like “San Jacomo” and “Cabrerra”. Is this the MBTA or Grand Theft Auto? To me, this suggests that this part of the map might feature a little more prominently in whatever scenes it is featured in.
Yes, I know that these maps tend to appear fleetingly in the background of whatever show they’re used in, so it’s a little unfair to subject them to the same scrutiny as a real transit map, but this one struck me as particularly odd, seeing as it’s so directly and obviously based off the official map (it even has the crossed-out station icon for Government Center).
P.S. Anyone know what TV show/movie this prop is from?