Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finally, a Worthy, New Metro Map

Click for larger

Graphic designer Cameron Booth has come up with what we think is an excellent redesign of the Metro system map, Silver Line included. If this map were ever to be adopted, we just hope they'll get metropolitan spelled correctly.

From Booth's post about the current Metro map:
If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good Metro/Subway/Underground map. Some of them are design classics and really shouldn’t be messed with (London especially). Others have flaws, but are mostly tolerable (Boston not naming all stations on the Green Line really annoys me, but the rest of the diagram is quite well done).

And then there are the diagrams that I simply can’t abide.

And, at the moment, foremost amongst those is that of the Washington, DC Metro system.
Check out the full post on his site, which includes more analysis of the current map and more detailed looks at his creation.


Anonymous said...

Looks good on a pdf or a tri-fold touristy brochure. It should be tested in a rail car though. I can't wait for the mouth-breathers to lean over me as they try to get 5 inches away to read the muted, small graphics.

Cameron Booth said...

The design is based off the US-Letter sized PDF currently available on WMATA's website, and actually uses the same point size for type - it's just a lighter weight. The map would definitely need to be reworked/simplified for wall posters, but I don't believe the route lines are any thinner than, say, London or Barcelona's maps, both of which work well in rail car situations.

Anonymous said...

Huge, huge HUGE improvement. WMATA is having a hard time moving past the 70s in the way it operates, but surely they can get a map that's designed for the present and that will last into the future.

Never had thought about those boxy cares to indicate parking. But now that those black cockroachy things aren't there, you really can tell a difference.

Well done.

Anonymous said...

Froggy Bottom?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Froggy Bottom aside, HUGE improvement. I was very very skepical when I saw the title of the post, but I have to say that I love it. So much clearer, so much simpler, so much better. Bravo

Anonymous said...

Actually, I like Froggy Bottom and I agree - great job. I pointed it out because I thought it was funny :-)

kidincredible said...

There are some points where the horizontal station names may confuse people (the biggest offender in my eyes being West/East Falls Church. If you read "West Falls Church-" your eye is taken directly to the dot for East Falls Church. A couple extra seconds will let you figure out which is which, but SOME angled station names might help. Braddock Rd and King St have a similar issue). My understanding was the intent was to have everything be very clear at a brief glance (not that WMATA's current map succeeds in that).

Other than that, I'm a fan.

Fortran said...

Don't forget Loudoun County as well. (I missed Froggy.)

That said, please, WMATA, adopt this map!

Anonymous said...

Purple Line? Even with the dashed lines like they used to have to show where the Green was going to be.

Anonymous said...

Finally! The current Metro map is um Pre K.

Ed said...

Metro's current map gets a lot of love in transit/design circles. I just finished reading an entire book on the Paris Metro's design - from maps and stations to fonts and brochures. Yeah, I'm a dork.

But anyway, WMATA gets a nod for its bold, colourful map. It's instantly recognisable, and is easy to read and understand.

This map's good, too.

What I wonder is, when is WMATA going to add the Silver Line to the map as "planned stations"? Dirt is flying, so it's not like we're backing out here...

Anonymous said...

I think this might be a great time in WMATA history to adopt a new map, with the coming of the silver line, and eventually, purple line. They'll have to create new maps anyway, right? It could certainly help shape up WMATA's image, give us a inkling that they might be *trying* to improve, on the communication front AND on the whole.

Anonymous said...

The silver line, the purple line, and the trams.

Anonymous said...

I hope Jennifer 8 Lee approves.

dwfma said...

I can't wait for the mouth-breathers to lean over me as they try to get 5 inches away to read the muted, small graphics.
Anonymous February 18, 2010 4:59 PM

if you don't like being breathed on, or bothered at all, in any way, when people attempt to read the map, try sitting in a different seat.

I doubt you pay any more for your ride; if anything, the breather is likely a tourist who coughed extra money on day pass, only to make a single round-trip.

Thad said...

After riding the London Underground for years, the one thing that I miss from the Metro maps are the simple line maps. On Underground carriages, along the top of the windows was a simple strip map listing the stations and transfers on that line. It meant that if I was on the Piccadilly and needed to transfer to the Central, I could quickly tell how far I was from the next station where I could make a transfer.

On the Metro, the absence of these maps makes it harder to do this type of calculation ... because I have to more towards the large map in the cars.

~~~hechter said...

Looks sleek. One addition: an indication of the location - above /or/ below ground - of each station would be helpful. It's important as we recently experienced with above-ground stations closing due to snow/wind.

Anonymous said...


I have a better idea to improve transit in this city. And guess what?! It's FREE.

Get rid of the height limits on buildings. The skyline goes up, housing prices go down, and people can WALK to work.

This would also mean more funding for Metro. More residents = more nightlife = more revenue from train-riding party goers.

This seems like such a no-brainer to me. What gives?

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