Amtrak On-Time Performance by Route
A neat little map/infographic accompanying an interesting article in the Washington Post about Amtrak’s inability to actually get people places on-time. Well, that’s what happens when you don’t own most of your track and freight trains get priority… but I digress.
The map does a good job at presenting the information in an interesting manner: the use of green to differentiate between “vaguely acceptable performance” and the varying shades of “are we ever going to get there?” purple is particularly nice.
However, the map does show one of the pitfalls of placing diagrammatic route lines onto a geographical background. The western terminus of the Missouri River Runner is shown correctly as Kansas City, MO, which the Southwest Chief also runs through. However, the 45-degree angle imposed on the Southwest Chief as it leaves Chicago means that it misses Kansas City by a considerable distance (by roughly half the state of Missouri, actually!). Whoops!
I’d also argue that the Texas Eagle should really only be shown from Chicago to San Antonio, as the Los Angeles section is really provided via a connection to the Sunset Limited at San Antonio (as shown on my own subway map-style poster of Amtrak routes).
Unofficial Map: Toilet Map for Stockholm Metro Travellers by Pruek Lawchaiyapruek
A light-hearted and off-beat map/infographic for you today — one that shows the distance, type and cost of public toilets near metro stations in Stockholm, Sweden. Hopefully, the map was not borne out of Pruek’s inability to find a facility when in dire need!
The graphic is nicely put together, and functions well as both a (simple) transit map and an informational graphic. It has one of the nicest examples of “candy-striping” the route lines that I’ve seen in a while where the Red and Green lines share track. I’m not normally a big fan of this approach, but it works very nicely here.
The use of line length and colour-coding to denote distance to the toilet of your choice is really nice, giving two visual indicators for this very important piece of information. The one thing I’m pretty certain the graphic doesn’t do is indicate which direction to go to find the toilet, which could be a problem for people unfamiliar with the area who really, really need to go! Maybe a small arrow pointing the way could work, although that might be hard to integrate with such a schematic diagram. There’s certainly plenty of white space in the graphic to work on a solution.
The icons for each type of facility are nicely done, and the price indicator (open, half-filled and filled circles for each price point) is very intuitive. I’m not entirely sure I agree with the decision to flip the icons vertically when they’re under a distance line: it looks a little strange to me.
And is it just me, or does the second icon for a “stand alone toilet” look like a dead ringer for the TARDIS?
(Source: Pruek’s portfolio website)
Infographic: Circle Loop Lines of the World by Matthew Lew
Very aesthetically appealing infographic that compares 18 circle railway lines from around the world. The top part of the graphic displays the lines in a schematic fashion, representing each by its average diameter. The stations that comprise each line are then simply spaced evenly around the circumference to create a very striking pattern. Stations that interchange with other lines are represented by placing a small white dot in the centre of a station’s marker.
Below, information about each line — the number of stations, number of interchanges with other lines, the line’s length and radius, etc. — is displayed, along with a list of all the stations that make up each line. The colour-coding of the lines is designed to create a pleasing visual effect —working its way in order through the colour spectrum — rather than using each line’s “traditional” colour from their respective maps. While this is an understandable design choice, it’s still a little weird to see London’s Circle Line represented by a lovely shade of lime green.
For those who can’t quite make it out, the Circle lines represented (in ascending order of diameter) are:
Overall, this graphic looks great and provides an interesting, easily digestible, comparison between all these loop railroads. It would be interesting to see a version that plotted the actual routes and stations accurately against each other, rather than this heavily stylised view.
(Source: Matthew Lew’s Behance portfolio)
"Super Highways" Infographic Map by Christian Tate
Rather lovely subway map-styled infographic/illustration showing “six of the world’s most extreme roads and the places they connect”. Commissioned for Mazda’s Zoom Zoom e-magazine.
(Source: Christian Tate’s website)
Boston MBTA Green Lne Average Weekday Traffic (2010) by Barrett Lane
Wednesday’s post, Subterranean Veins of Europe, and its discussion of design choices distorting data reminded me of this map/graph sent to me by Barrett Lane last year. At first glance, this is a really neat and cleverly devised concept: the ridership numbers for each station on Boston’s Green Line are presented in the form of a stylised map of the lines, with vertical bars representing those numbers. It looks great, there’s some solid data behind the graphic, and the visual conceit is very appropriate.
However, there’s one major flaw that — for me — stops this graphic from being a total success. Barrett has used three different vertical scales for his graphs, which prevents rapid visual comparison between numbers (which one might say is the whole point of graphical presentation of data).
The same height represents 5,000 riders on the “B” and “C” branches, 4,000 riders on the “D” and “E” branches, and 20,000 on the main trunk line. The graphic would be far more effective if the bars for the trunk line stations towered above those of the branch lines, don’t you think?
(Source: Barrett Lane)
Subterranean Veins of Europe
Here’s an interesting “map” of Europe’s subway systems that was originally featured in a weekly cultural supplement to Milan’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper. The map looks fantastic, and allows all sorts of comparisons between the underground rail systems of Europe, from cost of tickets (cleverly shown as a blue ring of differing thicknesses: the thicker the ring, the more expensive a ticket is), users per day, total length of each system and even a simple chronological ordering of each line opening for the larger systems. I especially like the length comparisons to other long things in Europe at the bottom right.
The English translations are somewhat imperfect (I’m presuming it read a lot better in the original Italian), but everything is pretty understandable, as a good infographic should be!
However, there is one major flaw with this graphic: the large circles around each city are labelled as “radius”, which leads me to expect that the circle shows the relative geographic size of each system. However, it actually uses the entire system length as the radius, which is almost entirely pointless and greatly exaggerates the relative size of the systems. For example, London’s “radius” is shown as a massive 402km (250 miles), when the actual maximum geographical radius is closer to 30km (18.5 miles). Paris’ incredibly dense Metro network (almost all contained within the Boulevard Périphérique) suddenly becomes a huge circle that gives little idea of the system’s tight spacing. It’s a strange design decision that distorts the data underlying the graphic badly, in my opinion.
It would be most remiss of me not to mention this Kickstarter project from Andrew Lynch, also known as vanshnookenraggen. As well as these great posters, he’s also responsible for the fantastic animated history of the MBTA map that I’ve featured before.
Basically, Andrew is seeking funding for bulk printing of these posters (in effect, your pledge to him is a preorder for the poster(s) of your choice). For every $25 you pledge, you get another poster, all the way up to $225 for the entire set of nine.
Printing won’t start until next year, so they won’t arrive for Christmas, but if you like the look of this (and I sure do!), I strongly encourage you to get behind this project and give what you can. $25 for an awesome NYC subway poster sounds like a good deal to me. I’ve personally pledged $50 to the project and hope you can join me.