Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We are here to talk about maps

Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to talk about maps. Maps guide us through the urban landscape, but they also hint at parts of our environment that have not yet been explored.

That is how I opened my final presentation on a comprehensive mapping and analysis project of the laneways and back alleys of Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina). Today's post is also about maps, but of a different kind.

Should we put Transit City (LRT) lines on the TTC subway map?

Some feel that because these lines will not be subway lines they do not belong on a subway map and will cause rider confusion about the level of service being offered. Some have cited international precedent to support this argument. The Tramlink network in Croydon, Greater London does not appear on the base Underground Map, for example.

While we need to borrow best practises from the rest of the world, each city has developed its own subway map style. Just because the Europeans leave certain lines off of their subway maps does not mean that we should follow. Perhaps the solution is using a thinner line width than the subway lines, but we marginalize our LRT lines at our own peril. They may not be subway lines, but they are a service enhancement over a mixed-traffic bus route - and that's something we should recognize and celebrate.

That's what I think. What about you?



At 12/16/2009 3:00 p.m. , Blogger Trevor said...

There's no doubt in my mind that we need to include LRT lines on our subway map, including major stops and transfer points. A thin red line would do wonders to show how in depth our subway system can actually be.

At 12/16/2009 4:49 p.m. , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

Comment from Facebook. AA said:

LRT lines should be included, but at that point, it wouldn't be a subway map, it would be a transit map or a rapid transit map.

The map in Munich shows commuter rail lines as well, as does Tokyo. Using thick and thin lines makes it pretty clear. You'd much rather see a line of some sort going to where you want than no line.

At 12/16/2009 4:50 p.m. , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

Comment from Facebook. AD said:

it's all about the traveler and making it easier for them to get from point a to point b, and service providers should combine resources to have a more comprehensive transportation strategy for these travelers.

At 12/16/2009 4:51 p.m. , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

Comment from Facebook: BMS said:

Are you talking about those maps they have in subway cars (that teens insist on stealing)? If so, then yes, LRT routes should definitely be mapped out. They may not have the same level of capacity or frequency as the subway routes have, but the are very useful for connections or alternative routes and as you mentioned they are an enhancement over bus routes. Heck, we have the Scarborough RT mapped, why not map the St. Clair streetcar route which is a useful east/west connection north of the Bloor line?

At 12/16/2009 4:52 p.m. , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

Comment from Facebook. CP said:

Completely agree with AD! It shouldn't be about making our maps look pretty... its about making it easier for people to get from point A to point B. As long as the LRT lines are shown as thin lines on the subway map, it will look fine and be very helpful to those who do not frequently use the TTC.

At 12/16/2009 4:53 p.m. , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

Comment from Facebook. MXW said:

I'd say don't get too attached to the TTC map as it stands. It's going to change anyway.

I feel that the TTC network is pretty stark compared many of the 'great' subway systems of the world. I too love a good map and there are certainly ways to manipulate a map to distinguish btw the different forms of transportation.

(for the record I lived in East Croydon for a year and took the Tramlink to Croydon Station, the overland train to Victoria Station then the Underground to St. Pauls station- good times!!)

At 12/16/2009 4:54 p.m. , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

Comment from Facebook. JD said:

I say we definitely include them. The current TTC map includes the SRT, which could arguably be compared in service level to the new Transit City lines. And the new focus on a complete network rather than individual lines really requires a more comprehensive view of how it all comes together than a map of just subways can manage. Maybe GO lines should be making an appearance too?
The big question is how we manage to fit this new info onto a map while ensuring it remains readable. The current maps already have problems, and adding in a bunch of new lines, thin or not, would really exasperate these.
That definitely means better fonts, better spacing and something more than just colour to distinguish different lines. It probably means switching out the present above-door maps for dynamic ones that only show the current line with its connections, and inserting full system maps elsewhere in vehicles. It may even mean digital displays with trip-planning ability on all vehicles.


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