Photo: Tactile Muni Metro Map, San Francisco
Maps in underground stations on the Muni light rail network in San Francisco have raised route designation letters and route lines, as well as braille labels for station names. Nice!
I know that it’s entirely happenstance*, but I really appreciate the fact that the M, K, and T lines appear next to each other on the map, making an “MKT” for Market Street.
*Historical aside: Muni streetcar letters were originally assigned alphabetically in the order they came into being, all the way from A to N. Letters then disappeared as many of the old streetcar lines were converted to numerical bus routes, leaving us with the strange assortment of letters we have now. The modern T Line breaks from this naming convention, as it simply refers to the road it mostly runs along, Third Street.
Photo: Tattoo based on H.C. Beck’s First Paris Métro Diagram
The inspiration for this tattoo is really quite obvious when you know what you’re looking for. This is H.C. Beck’s first unsolicited attempt at a Paris Metro diagram from around 1939, and has been reproduced quite faithfully (although without the station names).
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?
Submission — NEW Official Map: MARTA Rapid Rail System, Atlanta, Georgia
'Tis the season for new transit maps in the United States! Hot on the heels of Portland’s new MAX light rail map comes this new version for Atlanta’s rapid rail system. These photos were submitted by long-time correspondent Matt Johnson on a recent visit to Atlanta, and he notes that they are present in many of the system’s major stations.
This map has quite a few improvements and changes from the version I previously reviewed, not the least of which is the change from Futura to Helvetica as the map’s main typeface. This makes a big difference in my eyes — Helvetica may have some failings that prevent it from being a truly excellent wayfinding typeface, but its clean looks and large x-height are a big step up from the idiosyncrasies of Futura.
The other big change is the way that night services are now shown as a separate inset map, rather than trying to explain them on the main map with different markings on the route lines. For a relatively simple system like Atlanta’s this works extremely well and is definitely easier to use and understand. However, it introduces one element that is simply awful and totally out of character with the simplicity of the rest of the map. The nighttime Red and Green Lines (the ones that have service cut back to only cover the stand-alone sections of track) have tiny little directional arrows running along both edges of the route line. I guess it’s meant to emphasise the shuttle-like nature of the lines, but I think that it’s totally unnecessary (as well as ugly). Bi-directional travel along route lines is inherently implied on a transit map unless specifically indicated otherwise, so why are these arrows even needed?
Other changes for the better include better drawn route lines than now nest properly going around curves (yay!). They’ve also lost their bounding black keylines, which helps to simplify the map — the Gold Line is a deeper hue now to enable it to retain its visibility compared to the other lines.
Our rating: In a way, this map has almost come full circle back to the stylish minimalism of the map used in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and that’s a good thing in my eyes. The little directional arrows on the night services map are a strange aberration, but overall, this is a solid improvement over previous recent maps. Four stars!
Fantasy Map: London Tube Teleporter
Absolutely brilliant. Repurposing the Underground roundel as a selector dial for destinations is hilarious, as is the fact that you can only use a Visa card (the only credit card accepted at the Olympic Games). Apart from Lord’s, I’m not sure I think that much of the destinations available, though…
Source: John Gulliver/Flickr
Submission — Follow Up on Portland’s New Light Rail Maps
Submitted by Taylosaurus, who says:
I saw the last post about Portland’s new TriMet maps and the stations and I knew I’d seen a map without that weird disappearing Red Line/streetcar thing so I made sure to take a picture on my way home. This map is on the ticket vending machines. I’m not sure if it’s on all of them but it’s at least on the ones at the Rose Quarter and at SE Powell Blvd. The maps you posted are on the lighted signs on the Transit Mall and the I-205 section of the Green Line.
So basically, it looks like it might be an issue of production rather than the design of the map. Not sure if that warrants given it an extra 1/2 star or not, but I thought you ought to know.
Transit Maps says:
Yes, I just got confirmation via a comment from one of TriMet’s designers this morning that this is a printing error on the backlit signs. Apparently, the ink for the “missing” ghosted-back lines didn’t hold at all. I’m kind of amazed that it didn’t hold for the Red Line, as it’s still quite a solid colour in the photo above, but there you go. As these will be revised/reprinted when the Orange Line opens (in about a year!), we won’t have to put up with this error for too long, at least.
1914 Hoch und Untergrundbahn Map, Sophie-Charlotte-Platz, Berlin
One of 26 panels on the walls of the platforms of this U-Bahn station that show the history of the subway before the First World War.
Submission – Historical Map: Proposed Underground Mass Transit, Jakarta, Indonesia, c. 1993
Submitted by Josh Brandt, who says:
I used to work at a university, and one day while poking through some dumpsters I found a big hardbound book full of architectural drawings and tables and things, a final report on developing a mass transit system for Jakarta.
I don’t know if that sort of thing interests you, but here are some pictures of pages from it.
They planned for 2 lines, NS and EW, and mapped them out in detail— I only have pictures of 2 of the street plans since about 2/3 of the book is made up of drawings of the streets with the proposed rail lines overlaid. They came up with 3 or 4 potential plans, including one full-underground line and a couple of mixed underground and elevated rail lines. They also sketched out a couple of stations.
I haven’t gone through and compared in detail to what they’re building now, but it looks pretty similar at a quick glance…
Transit Maps says:
What an amazing find, Josh! This is a real old-school proposal document, with beautiful hand-drawn architectural renderings and plans. I’ll note here that one of the proposing companies is Parsons Brinckerhoff, the firm that I work for as a senior graphic designer – essentially producing the same type of proposal documents, but with the benefit of modern computer software and technology.
Josh has posted a great set on Flickr of pages from the proposal, but I’ve posted one of my favourites here: a plan view of what looks like the north-eastern quadrant of the two-line system, including landmarks and other proposed works along the way. The linework is simply beautiful, and I wish more proposals had hand-drawn maps in them these days.
By the way, the 1993 date comes solely from the artist’s signature on some of the other drawings, which are dated March 1993. More than 20 years later, construction on the Jakarta MRT has only just started…
Our rating: Super yummy old style architectural renderings and maps make me happy. Four stars!
Submission – Official Map: In-Car Map of Rome Tram Lines
Submission and photo by Chris Bastian.
Does a decent job of showing a large and disjointed network in a limited space, although it’s not exactly stylish. Notable for its interesting “circle” and “half-circle” terminus stations, as well as its use of double-headed arrow station markers to show that trams stop in both directions there.
As the tram network basically circumnavigates the historical centre of Rome, that part is basically compressed so much that it’s barely even present anymore – a factor of the limited space, more than anything else.
The map also cheats a bit, as the “3B” between Stazione Trastevere and Piramide is actually a bus line, not a tram, despite being represented identically on the map.
Our rating: Not bad for an above-the-door map that has to show the whole network, but not really memorable either. Two-and-a-half stars.
Replica 1958 Transit Map at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, Japan
No seriously: a museum devoted to ramen (in all honesty, it actually sounds pretty awesome). This map is found on the main floor of the museum, where nine restaurants serve different styles of ramen from Japan and around the world in a faithfully recreated Japanese streetscape from 1958 — the year that instant ramen was invented.
As to which transit system it represents, I can’t even begin to guess. The original post on Flickr posits Tokyo, but the museum is closer to Yokohama… But I’m pretty sure that one of you will be able to help out and translate/locate for me.
EDIT: And… that took all of 10 minutes to work out. Thanks to psylin for translating and finding out that the red station is “Narutobashi”, a fictional station and area that the replica streetscape represents.
However, I am almost certain that the numbers in the station dots represent the fare from the red "You Are Here" dot.