Here’s an animated GIF you can show to those people who say the new MBTA map looks “just like the old one”. The clarity of design is so much better, even at this reduced size.
Historical Map: Aerial View of the Puget Sound Area, Washington, c. 1940
An old postcard showing a colorised aerial photo of Seattle and the Puget Sound. Points of interest and the ferry routes of the era (pre-Washington State Ferries, which only commenced service in 1951) have then been added to the image.
It’s these ferry routes which allow us to date this charming postcard to somewhere between 1935 and 1942. The little Fletcher Bay to Brownsville ferry route (centre left on the photo) only operated between 1924 and 1942, while the Colman Dock (Seattle) to Manchester route only ran after 1935, when the old eastern terminus dock at Alki Point washed out.
Submission - Offical Map: Water Transport Routes, St. Petersburg, Russia
Submitted by nelequetan.
Here’s a very pleasant map that shows the “Akvabusy” water transportation routes in St. Petersburg, Russia, which were introduced only a few years ago in 2010. The service only runs from the end of May until October each year as the city’s rivers and canals all freeze over in winter. The fleet — as shown at the bottom of the map — consists of everything from small 12-seat water taxis all the way up to 120-seat hydrofoils that can reach speeds of 65km/h.
The map itself is very clearly laid out and makes good use of 30/60 degree angles to represent the islands and canals of the city. This does make the one really odd angle — on the blue Central Line to the east of the Summer Garden stop — stand out like a sore thumb, however. I’m also not sure that the little “flick” in the red Kurortnaya line as it nears Kronstadt (in the map’s inset) is really necessary.
The map also has other useful information: the distance to nearby Metro stations is marked where appropriate (although 1,100 metres — over a kilometre! — is hardly a “short walk”), as are the names of the city’s famous bridges, both of which are great for general orientation and getting around.
My one main problem with this map is that the type is tiny and very hard to read. All the iterations I’ve seen are online bitmap graphics with a maximum width of just 1000px or so. A lot of the type, especially the English subtitle labelling, is almost impossible to make out at that resolution.
Our rating: Looks good, contains useful information, but teeny-tiny type lets it down somewhat. Three stars.
From the Field — Official Map: Sydney Ferries Network
Greetings from beautiful, sunny Sydney, where I’m currently visiting family — my first time back home for six years. Of course, I can’t help but look around and see transit maps wherever I go, and here’s the one that shows the Harbour City’s extensive and under-rated ferry network.
Most notably, the map shows which wharf each ferry leaves from at Circular Quay, the main hub of the system. The importance of knowing this cannot be understated, so it’s nice to see it shown so clearly.
A little strangely, zone information is shown for the river services (west of Circular Quay), but not for the Harbour. A trip to Manly requires a MyFerry2 ticket, but that is not indicated here.
Aesthetically, the map follows pretty standard transit map rules, although there’s some weird angles on the Manly and Watsons Bay routes that detract from the look somewhat.
Our rating: competent-looking effort missing some important information. Two-and-a-half stars.
Official Map: Commuter Rail Strip Map, Lisbon, Portugal
A lovely above-door strip map from Portugal’s capital. By sacrificing geographical reality (only the Tagus River gives any sense of orientation), the three lines are able to be laid out for maximum clarity and legibility. The comprehensive legend has symbols for connections to the Metro, the private Fertagus commuter rail line to Setúbal, ferries, and buses. It even has a “camera” icon for stations with points of interest nearby, and a little “umbrella and beach towel” indicating stations with connections to the Atlantic Coast beaches.
If I had one complaint, it’s that the green oval indicating the centre of Lisbon looks a little overbearing and tacked-on compared to the simplicity of the rest of the diagram.
Submission — Official Map: Bus and Ferry Network of the Faroe Islands
Submitted by Helgi Waag, who says:
The entire bus and ferry system of the Faroe Islands. The online version is interactive. Hubs are in boxes and sea routes in blue.
The Faroe Islands — a remote island nation under Denmark’s sovereignty located about halfway between Norway and Iceland — isn’t necessarily somewhere you associate with a bustling and modern transportation network, but here it is!
This map shows the Bygdaleiðir, or “village buses”, which connect the cities and towns that are accessible to each other by road (including some that travel through undersea tunnels), and the all-important ferry routes between the islands. The Number 7 route shown on the map between the capital, Tórshavn, and the southern island of Suðuroy is a two-hour journey in good weather.
Not shown are the local buses — or Bussleiðin — in Tórshavn, which are operated by the city council, not the Strandfaraskip Landsins company. Interestingly, these buses are completely completely free of charge, an initiative introduced in 2007 to encourage people to use public transportation instead of driving their cars.
The map itself is a nicely stylised version of the archipelago, and information is presented nice and clearly. Nice bright route colours, too. My only complaint is that the interactive Flash version of the map on the website is the only version of the map available. Not all devices (especially mobile devices!) support Flash, so there should be an alternate image or PDF version easily available for those users.
Our rating: Nice work from an unexpected location. Three stars.
(Source: Official Strandfaraskip Landsins website)
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)
Historical Map: Alilaguna Gold Line, Venice, 2006
We’ve featured Venice’s public transportation ferry map previously (February 2012, 2.5 stars), but here’s an interesting photo of a map by Alilaguna, a privately-run ferry and water taxi service.
This map, dating back to 2006, shows only the Alilaguna Linea Oro (Gold Line), running from the airport to St. Mark’s Square. Interestingly, this express route no longer exists, leaving passengers to lake the slower, local Linea Blu to the heart of Venice instead.
The map has some interesting Vignelli-esque aesthetics, with the lagoon islands reduced to simplified, blocky shapes (as well as beige water!). The execution works well for Venice itself; less so towards the edges of the map. There’s too much fussy detail over on the left side of the map near Malcontenta, and the way the mainland is strangely truncated makes Mestre and the airport look like they’re also located on islands. Global warming, perhaps?
Production-wise, it’s obvious that this map has been created by simply deleting the other Alilaguna lines from a master map, which leads to the three “station” markers shown being extremely long for no apparent reason. The indeterminate angle the route line takes from the airport down towards Murano is also a little odd-looking, given the strong 45-degree design aesthetic of the map.
Our rating: Nice concept, huge potential to be visually striking — but a shame about the uneven execution. Two-and-a-half-stars.
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?
Unofficial Map: Transportation of Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
Here’s a seriously impressive piece of work by Arthur de Wolf that I came across while trawling Flickr. This map shows transportation options at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida - monorail, bus, water transportation, parking lot trams, even walking routes between transportation hubs. Walt Disney World Resort is the size of a small city and has a transportation system that puts many of them to shame. Bringing order and sense to this system is no easy feat, and I think that Arthur has done a fantastic-looking job (although I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the map’s contents).
Have we been there? No. Maybe when my son is old enough to appreciate it.
What we like: Beautifully executed map that obviously has a lot of research and thought behind it (despite Arthur’s statements regarding potential errors). Takes a system that’s as complex as many large cities, and creates order and simplicity out of it. The Mickey Mouse/London Underground Roundel mashup in the top right corner is hilarious.
What we don’t like: Could use a little more visual differentiation between the monorail and bus services. The “M” at stations is a little hard to find when you’re first scanning the map. Map is maybe a little too sterile for what is an enormous theme park.
Our rating: Fantastic work that shows a complex system with remarkable clarity. Four-and-a-half-stars! Be sure to click through to the image on Flickr where you can view it large!