Unofficial Map: Dallas-Fort Worth Rail Transit by Gabe Tiberius Columbo
I’ve been frustrated with the Dallas rail map for a while, and decided to make a comprehensive diagram of Dallas-Fort Worth rail trainsit.
Transit Maps says:
Simply put, this is a beautiful diagrammatic map and is far more visually attractive than the official DART map (August 2012, 3 stars). There’s a very elegant, restrained feeling to this: from the subtle grey background and typography to some excellent, slightly unusual colour choices for the route lines that work really nicely together. The way the Green and Orange lines interact with the Red and Blue is exactly what I wanted to see in the official map, and this treatment looks so much cleaner.
One could make a case for the inclusion of a few geographical features or major highways to give a better sense of scale and location, but — purely for route finding — the map doesn’t really need them, in my opinion.
The map’s not totally perfect: I don’t see a need for the smaller type for station names on the TRE and A-Train services: the thinner route lines already differentiate them from the main DART services, and the smaller type is somewhat harder to read. By the time we get down to the Amtrak routes and the M-Line Trolley, the type is almost ridiculously small.
There’s also a typo in the legend that references the “Fort Worth Transportaion Authority”.
Our rating: Excellent work that takes a completely different approach to the official map and does it very well. Four stars.
Submitted by Cedric Krummes, who says:
Shot of the Leipzig Transport Authority Map (Germany). I was waiting for the Number 9 back to the Hauptbahnhof where I would take the Number 15.
Notice the Circle: suggesting the ring road in the city centre but maybe also trying to be like the Moscow Metro - Leipzig WAS part of the German Democratic Republic after all…
Great photo of a well-worn map, Cedric. You can definitely see how this map benefits from being reproduced at a large size: as I commented in my review of this map (January 2012, 4 stars), this map is very detailed and information-dense and needs some time to absorb propoerly.
Unofficial Map: San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit, 2011
This post comes about because of a Tumblr Mail (go, on ask me something!) from an anonymous follower, who says:
“Any idea if a unified San Francisco transit map exists somewhere out there, perhaps a la the Portland one? SF has to have one of the more confusing transit systems in the country, what with Caltrain + BART + Muni + cable cars + the F line.”
As it happens, there are plenty of unofficial maps showing both just the City of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.
This one, from sfcityscape.com, is definitely one of the best. It shows BART, Muni Metro, the F line, Caltrain, and more. The only rail transit it doesn’t show are the historic cable cars (which surely don’t qualify as rapid transit, anyway) and interstate Amtrak trains, preferring to focus on the Amtrak California Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin services.
Extra handy features include an indication of stations with timed transfers between services and an awesome little diagram of how BART services change quite radically depending on the day of the week.
Technically, the map is extremely well drawn - there’s a lovely clean minimalism to the linework and the colour palette is gorgeous, especially in the background areas.
My one minor complaint is that the colours used to denote Muni Metro and Caltrain are very similar to each other. While the relative thicknesses of their service lines help distinguish them from each other, the services do touch and overlap in a couple of places. This problem seems like it could have been easily solved with a little more thought, but still barely detracts from the sheer quality of this piece.
Our rating: One of my favourite unofficial maps. Four-and-a-half stars.
(Source: SF Cityscape - PDF)
Historical Map: Lines of the Denver City Tramway, 1913
While we applaud the Denver Regional Transportation District’s current FasTracks program, which is rapidly building a comprehensive light rail and commuter rail system in the Mile High City, it’s sobering to look at a map like this and realise that 100 years ago, Denver already had a comprehensive transit system. It’s a story repeated across America — Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, Minneapolis/St. Paul and more.
Official Map: Brussels Metro, Tram and Rail Network
Having touched briefly on the Brussels map with this previous post, I thought it was time to take a proper look at the current official map.
Have we been there? Yes, back in 2003, but I walked pretty much everywhere and didn’t use the Metro/tram system. I did catch trains from Brussels to other cities in Belgium, however.
What we like: The treatment of the Metro part of the system is excellent, with a nice solid 90-degree angle design really accentuating the orbital nature of lines 2 and 6. Strong, yet interesting, choices for the route lines seem to be aimed at maximising contrast between adjacent lines: the lines are paired in colours that are opposite each other on a colour wheel (blue/orange and purple/yellow).
The map still looks nice and clean despite the bilingual French/Dutch labelling required for many stations.
What we don’t like: The map is less impressive when it comes to some of the design choices made for the tram network - the yellow used for line 7 is so pale that it needs to be outlined in grey, which then makes that line look visually too strong. Line 7’s treatment at terminus stations is also inconsistent with all the other lines: its terminus dot sits above the station marker like the others, but its route line lies underneath the station.
An inconsistent approach to naming stations for the tram routes: most of the stations that don’t interact with the Metro system remain nameless, except for a few on the eastern part of Line 7… why are these stations different to the others?
The pastel striped main rail lines take quite a bit of getting used to: the effect does reduce their importance in the information hierarchy, but it all just looks a little 1980s after a while.
Our rating: If it was stripped back to show just the Metro, this would be a wonderfully strong map. As it is, each subsequent mode reduces the visual focus of the map and ends up as a slightly unsatisfying final product. Stilll very competently done, however. Three stars.
(Source: Official STIB website)
Glenelg Tram Strip Map, Rundle Mall, Adelaide, Australia
Simple but effective use of an otherwise long and empty space on the station shelter. Could do with a bit of a clean, though.
(Source: Sweet One/Flickr)
Historical Map: Perth and Suburban Districts Showing Tramway Routes
Transit Maps says: Sweet old school tram map, with routes simply and clearly overprinted in bold red on top of a street map. Perth certainly isn’t alone in rebuilding what once existed: this type of urban renewal through transit is happening all over the place, especially here in the US.
However, is “MAX” really the best name Perth could come up with? Portland, Oregon and Las Vegas already use the same acronym (Metropolitan Area Express), there’s also a Modesto Area Express in California, while Salt Lake City also has its own MAX (which doesn’t seem to stand for anything). Not forgetting Auckland’s MAXX with an extra “X” as well. A little originality, please!
Berlin Transit Network
Submitted and created by Fabio Lamanna
A visual approach to the complex dynamics of Berlin’s transportation system. The graph represents all the direct connections between the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Regional Bahn, Tram and Bus stops. The bigger the node, the more optimal travel routes pass through the station.
Transit Maps says: I’m in awe of this type of work: not just designing transit maps, but gaining a full understanding of the underlying system as well. As Fabio says on his website, “Graph theory, travel times and frequencies of transit systems should soon provide a new way to design, analyse and read transit maps of the world.”
Metrovalencia Map for Air Travelers
One of a series of nifty advertisements for the Metro system in Valencia, Spain. This one highlights the system’s connections to the airport (via Lines 3 and 5); I’ve also seen other ones that form the shape of a shopping bag (to showcase the connections to the shopping districts of the city), and a bicycle (to indicate that bicycles can be taken on the system).
These ads all tie into a previous iteration of the Metrovalencia map (this photo is from 2010), which has since made the switch from a diagram to a geographically accurate map (coming up in a future post).
(Source: Andrey Belenko/Flickr)
Official Map: Prague Integrated Transport
Here’s the last entry in our short series on current transit maps in Prague, an integrated map. In my opinion, this map hits the sweet spot as far as information and presentation are concerned: it shows Metro and tram service better than the simple Metro Orientation map, but without the mind-numbing level of detail of the full service map.
What we like: Retains the cute major landmark icons from the simpler map. The addition of route numbers to the tram lines makes a huge difference in usability - routes can now be traced from beginning to end. While individual stops aren’t shown, this is not a huge issue as tram service normally has tightly-spaced, regularly placed stops. Much better English on this map!
What we don’t like: Strangely muted colours on the Metro lines compared to the other maps, which looks worst on the Red Line (red never tints down very well). The heavy red/brown border is quite overpowering, especially compared to the soothing beige of the other two maps.
Our rating: Just right. Information is easily parsed without having to pore over a detailed full system map. Four stars.
(Source: Official DPP website)