Pick a map as an improvement over the current T map

The T's posted six finalists from its map competition in survey form, says it may use the winner as a replacement for the current "spider" map.

Ed. note: I kind of like Map 4, because it makes the Green Line look like it's drunk:

Drunken Green Line

All entries, including one in cross stitch.

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Comments

1 and 4 are best!

Maps 2 and 6 are too busy. I like the idea of showing multiple lines sharing a single right of way (something done nicely on the Washington Metro maps) but the result, especially with the Green Line is clutter unless the individual lines are made very thin. This raises the issue I don't like with maps 3 and 5, which is that the rapid transit lines, which should be emphasized, are very thin and don't pop out at the viewer any more than do bus and commuter rail lines.

One is better for people who like an orderly presentation, four is better for those like Adam, who don't mind a bit of drunkenness or for people who want something that closely resembles the actual geography. I also like that both show more of the near in commuter rail stops than the current maps. Places like West Roxbury and Belmont really should be represented on the standard map, as both are areas that have fairly high transit utilization even though there is no rapid transit line.

In the end, I have to go with map one, because it features easier to read station names. It is more clear and has more useful information than any of the others do in my opinion.

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Oh, man, #4 is amazing - the

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Oh, man, #4 is amazing - the way it represents when the lines go above ground? Fantastic. It might be a bit too artsy, though, so I agree that #1 is the best overall. Some of the other ones make me feel like I did looking at the subway map in Tokyo - confused and like I want to die a little, even though in this case it's a system I know extremely well.

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I agree that #4 is pretty, but of what use are the shadow lines?

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#4 made my daughter and I both go "Ahh!" when we first saw it, but even though it remains her first choice, I quickly cooled on it.

I have two big problems with it. First, why is it important to signify when the trains have views of the sky? I feel it adds a level of visual complexity that will needlessly confuse visitors. Second, it's laid out as though it's supposed to be geographically accurate - but it's not. Distances and proportions are wrong - foreshortened as one moves from the city center. It seems to me that the map is implicitly offering 'info' that is, in fact, wrong. (Not that I think a geographically-accurate T map would be practical for regular display, in any case).

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why is it important to

why is it important to signify when the trains have views of the sky?

Because that can help you figure out whether you're on the right train and/or traveling in the right direction. I think the difference should be more obvious for just that reason. Imagine you're a tourist and you get on the train at Kenmore. If you come outside as soon as you leave the station, You'll realize immediately that you're going the wrong way, which you might not realize at all otherwise.

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No. 1

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No. 4 looks like a kraken is attacking.
And nobody asked, but they can get rid of the stupid Charlie Card guy any time.

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The Charlie Card guy is just

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The Charlie Card guy is just one of many reasons the MBTA should be having people vote on this stuff. Hire the right professionals and do it right.

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I like #1

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I'm a big fan of geometry and graph theory. Parallel and diagonal lines really do it for me.

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Eh, I kind of like #3

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I do like the way that most of map #1 looks, except for one tiny thing that annoys me: the Silver Line to the airport is a loop, not a "Go to Terminal E and then reverse direction", which is how it appears here.

I like #3 because it shows you exactly where various branches of the Green Line terminate, which could help a tourist figure out that their D train is not taking them to North Station (no, who am I kidding, T logic is too difficult for tourists). And maybe it's my computer screen, but I can't see the bus routes on this map, just the connections to selected subway stations.

Also, props to #3 for clearly marking the walkway between Park Street and DTX.

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Number 3, I agree.

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It's the easiest to read (not too busy) and the most spatially accurate. Two and six are god-awful, and number four looks like it was done in Mario Paint.

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Yeah but you have to keep

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Yeah but you have to keep tourists in mind more than anyone when designing these maps because tht's who they're for. Residents dont really need this map unless maybe theyre going to Wollaston for the first time or something.

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Some of these don't make

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Some of these don't make sense for the Green Line... they should show where the B/C/D come close together since people use that to switch lines.

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Spatially?

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The only time I've ever used physical proximity of stations is when I lived in Brighton and could use B/C/D at Sutherland/Cleveland Circle/Reservoir, depending on which branch was less screwed up in the mornings/afternoons. That also seems like less of a thing that a tourist would try to figure out (or it's a really dedicated tourist).

And a couple of these maps, like #3 and #4 show the curve of the Green Line, so it's possible to infer from those maps that at points the branches of the Green Line get close to each other.

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Other points of proximity

When I lived in Washington Square, I often used the D at Beaconsfield, and sometimes the B at Washington St. Although I'm not sure how useful such information is on a map if it comes at the expense of readable station names, etc.

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Map 4 is fantastic. I

Map 4 is fantastic. I absolutely love the subtle line gradients that indicate where the lines pop out of the ground. It actually makes the line look 3D without being gimmicky at all. My only complaint with it is the black transfer station dots. Make them white and you're map is golden.

Regarding the rest of the maps that don't accurately depict the Charles: Representing the Charles is essential to wayfinding. The river and how to cross it should be clearly depicted.

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Seems to me accuracy on

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Seems to me accuracy on station transfers should also be accurately represented (e.g. there aren't any directional changes at Copley without paying again).

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Green Line Accuracy

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So the 66 goes right through Brigham Circle and up through Brookline Village without jogging on Huntington? Brookline Hills is across from the Riverway?

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4, With 2 Next

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5 has a mistake on the high speed line, listing "Green" for "Capen". 6 has the wheelchair logo for Valley Road, but also shows it as non-accessible (which is the truth, as I recall.) 2 is very useful in that it shows which Green Line trains terminate at Government Center. Overall, though, I think 4 is the best at detail, combining some sense of actual distance between stops with various waterways and other physical detail.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Also

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This mysterious "Worchester line" has apparently been secretly running near the Brookline border, between B and C, all this time. And I had no idea!

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What do the winners receive?

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What do the winners receive? I know the T is strapped for cash, but shouldn't they actually pay for creative work? Or at least give some kind of transparent prize?

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Nobody tried frequency mapping :(

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I think the issue that people tend to rate as most important is the expected wait time from when they show up at station until when a vehicle arrives. So the trend lately has been to encode that in some loose proportion to the width of the line on the map.

I don't really see that in any of these maps, other than some of them having the Central Subway be composed of multiple lines. And two of them do that for the Red Line. But the branches of the Red Line are shown as the same thickness as the Orange Line, even though those branches run at half the frequency.

And it shouldn't stop at the rapid transit/subway lines, the frequency mapping should extend to the buses and CR as well.

The Central Subway has 40-48 trains per hour, scheduled, at peak (remarkably high, actually). So the Green Line between Copley and Government Center ought to be thickly represented. By contrast, the Orange/Blue Lines are scheduled with about 12 trains per hour, and the Red Line at 6-7 trains per hour per branch.

As for buses, the Silver Line on Washington Street seems to have about 8-9 buses per hour at peak on SL5 and about 7-8 per hour on SL4. And, for example, the 57 route has 5 buses per hour and is supplemented by a 5 per hour short-turn 57A at peak.

The other nitpick I'd like to make is that many of the maps show stops in the wrong orientation from each other, or worse, whole lines mixed up like that (e.g. the "Worchester (sic) line" on map 2 or the 77 bus on map 4). It's okay to play fast-and-loose with geography, it's supposed to be an abstraction, but ... if you want people to be able to use these maps in novel ways, then details like that really do matter.

Great efforts though, that made me think differently about design. I am a bit upset that the MBTA has basically seized the rights of these artists just to have their maps considered at all.

P.S. Showing every station name on the Green Line surface branches is counterproductive. We need to eliminate some of them! Let's start with our future maps ;)

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P.S. Showing every station

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P.S. Showing every station name on the Green Line surface branches is counterproductive. We need to eliminate some of them! Let's start with our future maps ;)

Let's not, but we could add a third track to the B and C to provide express service unidirectionally during rush hour (B: BC, Chestnut Hill Av., Washington St., Allston St., Harvard Av., Packard's Cnr., BU Central; C: Cleveland Cir., Washington Sq., Coolidge Cnr., St. Mary's St.).

We could also lengthen the platforms at Washington Sq. and Cleveland Cir. and the C line would finally be able to accommodate three car trains.

Or add some more switches to allow for bypassing disabled trains at least.

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Express service?!

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I can't at all understand why on earth you would install express service on a line that will have to stop at most intersections due to traffic anyway.

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You'd be surprised at how

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You'd be surprised at how long dwell times can be at stops. If you're on a trolley that announces it is switching to express service (and you won't miss your stop) it is normal to breath a sigh of relief that your trip will take less time and probably won't get more crowded. But this is controlled by whether the traffic on the trolley line is congested -- if too much space has opened up ahead of the trolley and too little is left behind it.

But I did forget to mention that the traffic lights on Beacon St. and Comm. Av. should be slaved to the trolley, so that when the train is ready to go through the intersection, the traffic lights change to give it the right of way. This should be available automatically for express trains approaching an intersection where they don't stop, as well as available manually for any trolley where they do stop.

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dwell times

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You'd be surprised at how long dwell times can be at stops.

I'm not surprised at all. That's why I want to see station stops eliminated or consolidated. Right now there are several that are only about 200 meters apart. That's ridiculously close. Should be above 400-500 meters at minimum.

It would be cheap, save money in the long run, and speed up trips. Then do signal priority, and there is no need for a massively expensive and probably infeasible third track.

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Installing traffic light

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Installing traffic light priority would be much easier than building a third track.

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Another option

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Let's dump this whole nonsense of a "design a new map to replace an existing map that's perfectly adequate" contest.

With all the MBTA's pressing issues, it's truly pathetic that management considers redoing the maps a priority. It's even more pathetic how both the general public and the media consider this a good idea.

Give us trains that operate on a reliable basis and are frequent enough so they aren't sardine cans. Lose the impromptu "well, we feel like stopping for awhile - but we can't tell you how long" schedule adjustments.

Then we can talk about redoing the system maps and making cheezy music videos.

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Give us trains that operate

Give us trains that operate on a reliable basis

Geez, you want a foot-rub and a margarita, too? This is the T. You might as well wish for a pet unicorn.

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