Official Map: H.C. Chambers & Son Bury St. Edmunds - Colchester Routes, England
An attractive and stylish route map on the side of a handsome red double-decker bus. While the service from Bury to Colchester via Bures carries a single route number (753), you actually have to change buses in Sudbury, hence the “double dot” shown there. The timetable on the bus company’s website warns that because of congestion, connections between the two buses at Sudbury may not always be timely.
The second line shown from Sudbury to Colchester via Nayland is actually a separate route, the 84. Handy information if you miss your connection to the Colchester leg of the 753, I guess…
While this bus looks fantastic, the same can’t be said for the H.C. Chambers & Son website, which is completely craptacular.
Historical Map: Abandoned Bus Station, Pripyat, Ukraine
A harrowing image from the Ukrainian city of Pripyat, built in the 1970s to house workers for the ill-fated Chernobyl nuclear plant. Pripyat lies just a few scant kilometres from the plant, and was permanently evacuated within two days of the disaster in 1986.
Within the ruins of the city’s bus station is this surprisingly intact map of services offered within the local region. Pripyat is the fourth station from the top along the right edge of the map, just above the horizontal line that runs through the map. The town of Chernobyl (which is further from the plant than Pripyat) is the next stop to the south along the red route line.
(Source: Matt. Create. (Roads Less Traveled)/Flickr)
Unofficial Map: MBTA Map Contest Entry by Michael Kvrivishvili
Here’s another entry for the MBTA’s map contest, sent to me by Michael Kvrivishvili, a graphic and interactive designer from Moscow.
Michael has chosen to show all of the services on his map that the MBTA does on their map — subway, BRT, commuter rail, key bus routes and ferries. He pulls it off pretty well, too, although the convoluted network of bus routes is always going to look a little busy.
Like Kerim, Michael’s map features a perfect diamond representing the downtown interchange stations, and he also manages to fit in all the Green Line stations.If it wasn’t for the little flip in the Red Line to Braintree, he’d also have a perfectly straight diagonal line across the map! Despite these similarities, the two maps are really quite different.
Much like the current Washington DC map, Michael has added badges to the end of each line that denotes that line’s name — ”OL” for Orange Line, and so on — an excellent aid for color-blind users of the system. He also adds the full name of the line in very small text within each line, which seems redundant and is also far too small to be of any real use.
For the most part, Michael’s handling of the commuter rail lines is well done: they’re obviously lower in the information hierarchy than the main subway lines, but still look attractive. Again, the ends of the commuter rail lines feature some lovely and unusual arrowheads — I love this sort of attention to detail. The one place the map is not as clear as it could be is at Readville station. The Fairmount Line terminates at this station, while trains on the Franklin Line stop, but trains on the Stoughton/Providence Line pass through without stopping. On Michael’s map. the Franklin Line looks like a continuation of the Fairmount Line (which isn’t named on the map), and there’s no visual indication that Stoughton/Providence trains don’t stop here.
There’s more usability problems with the Silver Line at Logan Airport. Michael shows all the stops, but he doesn’t show how the route loops around. From the information shown on the map, a reader might expect that once the bus reaches the end of the line at Terminal E, it reverses back along the line, stopping at the other terminals again along the way. A similar problem is evident with the end of the SL2 line at Design Center (also a loop in real life).
Interestingly, Michael has chosen to show non-accessible stations on the map, rather than accessible ones. This actually works quite well at cleaning up the central part of the map, where there are more accessible stations than non-accessible ones.
A few other thoughts: the legend at the bottom of the map is beautifully laid out; the subway to bus/commuter rail symbol is subtle but effective; and the bus routes are generally pretty well done. Also, the Silver Line makes a big capital “B” in the middle of the map!
Our rating: Really quite good. The few shortcomings are probably due to Michael’s unfamiliarity with the system and look like they could be easily fixed. Three-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Email from Michael, also on Flickr)
Unofficial Map: Kerim Bayer’s MBTA Map Contest Entry
While I’m personally not too keen on the MBTA’s map contest, I totally respect the rights of those who still wish to participate. As they’ve told me in conversation, kudos and recognition can be very strong reasons for less experienced or amateur designers to enter. A couple of those designers have sent their entries in to me to review and share with you — this one’s from Kerim Bayer, who also produced this rather striking map of Istanbul’s rapid transit system (June 2012, 4 stars).
To my mind, it’s definitely an improvement on the current map. The removal of the key bus routes helps to create a much cleaner look, although at the obvious loss of that information. The alignment of the Red Line — a strong, straight, diagonal slash across the map — provides a powerful visual axis, as does the perfect diamond formed by the major downtown interchanges (a device very reminiscent to the perfect square seen on older MBTA maps). Kerim has also managed to fit all stations on the Green Line branches into the perfect square required by the MBTA — a formidable achievement indeed!
The white stroke on the commuter rail and Mattapan lines help to differentiate these services from the main subway routes nicely and attractively (I love the arrowheads at the ends of the commuter rail lines), although I think the device is less successful when used on the Green Line. While it’s true that the B, C and D branches of the Green Line do act more like streetcars in the sections indicated, does having this information on the map actually help the viewer in any way? You still stay on the same train from one end of the branch to the other without the need to change trains like you would on the Mattapan line at Ashmont. One could also argue that the D branch also runs on the “surface”, as do portions of the Orange and Blue lines, albeit in specialised rail corridors.
While the typeface used is a lovely, modern sans serif font — Bariol, a welcome and interesting break from the ubiquitous Helvetica — I would say that much of the labelling on the map is too small: Kerim’s Instanbul map also suffered from this. It certainly adds to the clean look of the map, but diminishes its usability — especially when viewed from a distance, as it would often be in the real world at stations.
While Kerim has managed to show all of the stops on the Silver Line 2 BRT route out to Design Center, he has condensed all the Logan Airport stops into one blanket “mega-station”. Knowing that the bus stops at all of the terminals (and actually has two stops at the “B” terminal) as well as the direction it loops around the terminal road is necessary information and — to my mind — really needs to be included in some form.
Our rating: Stylish, clean and modern-looking. The type is a little too small to be easily readable, and some important information is lacking. Three stars.
(Source: via email conversation with Kerim)
Wonderfully immersive visual history of transit in San Francisco. As the blurb on the site says:
The history of San Francisco’s transit system can be traced back as far as 1873, when the first cable car began service. Tales of technological advances, natural disasters, political struggles, and triumphant celebrations color its 140-year history and shape it into a system today that’s uniquely diverse and uniquely San Francisco.
Definitely worth losing a few hours to!
University of Virginia University Transit Service (UTS) Map
Submitted by Justin Tran, who says:
This is a redesign I did of the University of Virginia’s University Transit Service (UTS) map. You can see the original here. It won’t be live until permanent repairs are done to a certain bridge on Grounds that has vastly detoured more than half of these routes.
Transit Maps says:
This is pretty nice work here from Justin. It’s definitely been hugely influenced by the London Underground map, but works nicely in this context. I do think that the single-direction bus stop “ticks” are a little clever for their own good and rely on referring to the map’s legend a little too much to understand them fully. Something as integral to a transit map as a bus stop shouldn’t really need any further explanation to be able to understand it. A small arrow indicating which direction of travel the bus stop serves is the usual approach to this problem.
For the most part, the map looks great, although some of the curves could flow a bit better, especially around the hospital on the middle right of the map and on the orange University Loop line around the stadium.
Our rating: A solid effort that wears its influences on its sleeve. Overthinks the problem a bit, affecting usability slightly. Three stars.
P.S. As an aside, the geographically accurate map that Justin links to (PDF) is also pretty darn good.
Future Minneapolis & St. Paul Transit Map
After several months in development, I’m proud to present to you the Future Twin Cities Transit Map. A comprehensive summary of current rapid transit proposals, this version shows all existing and future light rail & BRT lines as well as select major bus routes, commuter rail and HSR connections. Detailed summary of transit improvements available at MetroTransit’s homepage.
In 2030, Twin Cities are expected to join the likes of Chicago, Curitiba and Copenhagen in operating an efficient, reliable, and extensive transit network. Take a peek at the future!
Download, Print, Share, Modify…
No project is ever complete, so I would welcome anyone to use it as a template for their own mapping project!
The map is published under a Creative Commons license(Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike).This means sharing and making copies is not just allowed but strongly encouraged.
Comments / questions? Just ask!
Transit Maps says:
I’ve been following this project with interest for quite a while now, and all I can say now that it’s completed is: WOW!
This is a transit map designed to inspire future riders. It’s beautifully designed, technically excellent (I’ve pulled apart the PDF in Illustrator to get a good look under the hood), and — quite frankly — puts a lot of official transit maps produced in the U.S. to absolute shame.
What I love most is the crystal-clear informational hierarchy: thick, coloured lines represent rapid transit, be it LRT or BRT. Regardless of the mode, service comes frequently (9 to 12 minute headways) and the vehicles move quickly. Grey lines (lower in the hierarchy) show arterial bus service, with line thickness neatly representing service frequency. Beneath this, the I-494/694 ring is subtly shown for orientation, and the geography is rendered in a style that complements the routes beautifully. The legend is clear and easy to use, and the colour scheme for the whole map gives it a very sophisticated, modern feel.
Finally, the icons used on the map are excellent from top to bottom, from the distinctive segmented interchange markers, down to the tiny airport, commuter rail and Amtrak icons. Fantastic attention to detail is evident here.
Our rating: Everything I love about modern transit map design. Five stars!
Fantasy Map: Victoria Integrated Transit Authority
Introduction: This is a fantasy/proposed transit network for Victoria, BC, Canada. I’ve been working on this off-and-on since the summer of 2011. It’s been a long process because I’ve tried to make this work not only as a nice looking graphic, but also as a maybe, somewhat, kinda plausible and functioning transit network. No destroying entire neighbourhoods and no monorails. However, with that in mind, I should mention I have absolutely no background in urban or transit planning. I have a few transit books and I follow @humantransit. So if you do this for a living and I’ve just made your head hurt, sorry.
Full size map here.
This proposed system consists of 5 light rail lines, a single commuter rail line, and modifications to the existing Victoria bus network. For the most part I’ve tried to utilize existing right-of-ways and minimize the construction of new structures. All the light rail lines would be at grade, and mostly mixed with traffic. Some lines/sections would be closer to a streetcar/tram than light rail, but the definitions of these types of system are getting a little blurry.
This line is very close to the existing Victoria Regional Rapid Transit proposal. I have made some changes though. South of Hillside, I choose an alignment of Government Street. Government Street between Yates and Wharf is almost already a pedestrian mall and I think it would be less obtrusive to put rapid transit down this corridor.
The existing proposal seems to favor the Galloping Goose trail, parallel to the Trans Canada Highway. To me this seems like the best corridor, but I’d be really curious to if they retain the trail or not. I’d love to see the trail kept because if there’s anything I like more than transit, it’s cycling.
The downtown terminus station would involve repurposing the Crystal Gardens. I have no idea if the engineering would work, but it’s such a great building and it seems sadly underutilized.
The Bay Street station would be north of Bay, and a bus loop would be built in one of those car lots between Government and Douglas. It’d be a major transfer point for bus routes and future LRT routes.
Lastly, I think the Wilfert station is probably going to be the least utilized in the entire network (I think it only exists for the casino).
This would be the second line built. It basically replaces the 4, which apparently is one of the busiest routes in the city. I looked at a bunch of different routes from downtown to UVic. To me, this one was the most plausible. It served multiple regional centres (Quadra Village, Hillside Centre, Camosun College and UVic), Hillside had the widest right-of-way, and the grades seemed the shallowest. I think it would be possible to run this line on its own right of way along most of Hillside, but it would probably need to run with mixed traffic along Foul Bay Rd.
Also I expect there would be a lot of NIMBYism in Oak Bay about this line.
A crosstown line that replaces the western part of the 6 route. It also historically mirrors some of the old Victoria streetcar network from the earlier part of the 20th century.
The downtown section would run along Yates Street because, again, I think it has the widest ROW. Convert Yates to two-way traffic, and do the same to Fort. It’s probably too late now, but it’d be great if the rebuilt Johnson Street bridge had space for tracks. Otherwise, it’s going to need its own bridge (or tunnel) over (or under) the inner harbour.
There are two eastern spurs, mostly because I couldn’t decide if the Royal Jubliee hospital or Oak Bay Village was more likely to generate more passengers.
This one is probably the least plausible line. It’d certainly be hard to build in sections.
The eastern end runs along McKenzie, alleviating bus services running crosstown to UVic. McKenzie has a nice wide ROW for most of its length, but it’s also a very, very busy street. Taking vehicle lanes away would probably be problematic. And then getting from Quadra to Uptown is also problematic. The most direct route would be along the Lochside trail, but I really don’t want to destroy this trail either. It would take some effort to keep both the LRT and trail.
I’m not sure if there’d be enough passengers to justify running two lines to the West Shore.
Lastly, the extension to Royal Bay is would be entirely dependant on whether or not Royal Bay actually gets developed. But this would run parallel to the Veteran’s Memorial Parkway.
This line is the least necessary line, but also would be easy to build if you wanted to build something down the median of the Pat Bay Highway. It’d alleviate some of the passenger load on the 6 bus route at the north end, plus provide connections to buses to the Saanich Peninsula.
Ideally I’d like to see a rail line up the Peninsula, but finding the right route that connected all the population centres was difficult to pinpoint. The old V&S doesn’t serve Brentwood bay and the old Interurban line doesn’t serve Keating X Road.
Utilizing the old E&N rail corridor, this would be a Train-Tram line. Vehicles would be able to use the street-level tracks in the city, but would operate more like a commuter train otherwise. This service would probably only run during peak hours. The Bastion Square terminus station would be in place of the current Yates Street parkade (unless its cheaper to tear down/repurpose something else nearby).
Frequent Transit Network
Many of these routes already are close to, or already run at, 15 minutes or sooner (though not seven days a week). A few new routes have been created because the rail network has severed some connections. The 5 is the southern portion of the 30/31, the 20 is the western end of the 14, and the 23 is the rest of the 11.
It’s just a dream, but I welcome any feedback/comments/anger via this Tumblr or Twitter.
Phew! That’s a pretty comprehensive overview of an imaginary transit system there! Having only been to Victoria for four hours on a very wet, rainy and cold December day a few years ago, I can’t really comment on the feasibility of all this.
Fortunately, the map looks great: a nice combination of diagrammatic route lines and stylised geography that works really well together, although the type for the bus route labels seems a little small to me. The dramatic circular loops that the buses take around the Medical Sciences light rail station seem a little at odds to the style of the rest of the map at first, but I can see from Google Maps that the road really does transcribe a perfect circle through the university campus there.
Historical Map: Bay Area Connections Map, 1981
Submitted by Alex Jonlin, who says:
I saw this at the Fremont BART Station a couple weeks ago. It’s labeled (in tiny print at the top) “September 1981.” I have no idea how it ended up staying for so long, but it’s interesting to see how the transit system has changed since then. I also like the concept of depicting long-distance rail and long-distance buses just about the same - it shows people that the Bay Area’s transit network extends beyond where just the BART and Caltrain go.
Transit Maps says:
Another fine entry in the “hopelessly out-of-date map” genre — 31 years and still counting!
This really is one of my favourite categories of transit maps. So much so, that I’ve introduced a new tag just for them: out of date. This applies to maps that are still located at active stops or vehicles only — maps in transit museums or used as movie/TV show props don’t count. Anyone got any examples from their local transit system?
Portland, Oregon: New Motor Coaches Replace Last Street Cars, February 26, 1950
Here’s an amazing full page ad that ran in The Oregonian on Thursday, February 23, 1950 to announce the end of an era in Portland. The last few remaining streetcar lines — to Council Crest, Willamette Heights and 23rd Avenue — were going to be replaced by “the very latest design in city transit equipment”, modern motor coaches. It’s interesting to compare the bulky, inefficient buses depicted here with their modern equivalents, especially in light of the glowing copy in the ad:
“The finest in heating and air conditioning … extra large windows for better natural light … increased electric lights … comfortable seating with deep upholstery … low entrance and exit steps”.
The ad also includes a number of surprisingly clear and attractive route maps for the most popular lines, many of which were subject to route changes because of the then-new system of one-way streets that was being introduced in downtown Portland at the same time as the equipment change. The ad also exhorts the reader to contact the Portland Traction Company (PTC) Dispatcher if “route and schedule folders are desired” — we’re a long way from real-time arrivals information on our smartphones here!
Click through to Flickr to view the ad at a size where you can (just) read the type. Also, compare with this handsome map of PTC services from 1943 (April 2012, 4 stars) — all the streetcar routes shown on that map (the yellow route lines) have disappeared just seven years later.