Unofficial Map: The Accessible Underground, 2007

Older transit systems like the London Underground face huge problems with access for disabled users. Originally constructed at a time when such things were not thought about, retrofitting is expensive and difficult. Sometimes, even stations that rely on elevators for platform access - like Russell Square on the Piccadilly Line - are still not wheelchair-accessible, because there’s still a flight of stairs between the elevator and the platform.

So what does the London Underground look like for a disabled user? That’s what this intelligent and disarmingly simple diagram attempts to show. By simply deleting non-accessible stations from the famous Tube map, a stark picture is presented. Only on the newer Jubilee and Docklands Light Rail lines are there a decent amount of accessible stations. The original author counts just 82 out of a total 275 stations (33 percent) as having access in 2007.

Matters have improved somewhat in the last few years, with the current Tube Map (PDF), showing quite a few more stations with access, as well as differentiating between step-free platform access and step-free train access - an important distinction that takes “Mind The Gap” to its logical extreme.

Our rating: Thought-provoking. 5 stars.

5 Stars!

(Source: Just Urbanism website)