Figuring out how to show the Green line was particularly challenging, though I think the result works pretty well (relating the E branch to the D and Orange was difficult and ultimately not that successful).
I think you did a pretty good job with the Green Line, and personally I think that you did a better job relating the E to the D and Orange than the official map does. (It looks wonky as hell, but that's because the actual E takes that big turn onto South Huntington.) I particularly like that the nearby Green Line stations actually look nearby each other (Chestnut Hill-Cleveland Circle-Reservoir, Brookline Village-Riverway). The official map gives the atrociously-erroneous impression that Cleveland Circle is the same distance out as Waban
. (Because the official map is a schematic map masquerading as a geographic map.)
I also decided to show additional Amtrak and Cape Flyer service, as well as finer details such as which stations have nearby access to the BlueBike network, and which sections of the system are underground.
I think the CapeFlyer and Amtrak additions are useful, and the BlueBike information is absolutely worth having. I don't think there's much use to designating which portions are underground. I like it as an element, personally, but I don't know how useful it would be to passengers, especially with how unobtrusive it is on the map (which is what keeps it from looking like clutter).
I will note that, as a result of showing the entire commuter system, the map ends up being pretty big. Not really practical to print. I could have condensed things a lot more, but likely at the expense of geographic accuracy (as it is, once you get past the "inner core" of the subway, the commuter lines are significantly compressed). I also wanted it to look nice and maybe sacrificed a little of its usability to keep an aesthetic that I liked. Maybe it's too much white space.
Doesn't look too far off from the PDF Commuter Rail full system map the T has on their site, with the beneficial improvement of actually detailing the RT lines as well. (That said, the official version is also somewhat unwieldy.)
I also struggled with what to do about the Silver Line - by principle, I only wanted to show actual train systems, and the silver line is just a bus. That said, I thought it was unfair to ignore it completely given the importance the T places on it...I chose to only show the sections that are more officially "BRT" (i.e. dedicated right of way and stations). But perhaps that makes it more confusing than helpful.
Reasonable-enough compromise for a full-system map. If it was just the RT lines (aka the common spider map) it'd need to have the Silver Line more fully depicted because it does function as a load-bearing arm of the transit network (even if it's....not that good at it). But that map also has the key bus routes, so there's internal consistency in your map omitting those and the non-BRT part of the Silver Line.
Anyway, been a bit of a lurker here these past few years, thought it was time to share. Let me know what you think I could do to make this better (and if you see any errors). I ended up having so much fun putting this together that I've been making similar maps of other cities in the US (so far I've done DC/Baltimore, Atlanta, Denver, general systems in Connecticut, and just now beginning to dive into the behemoth that is NYC...that will be a challenge to fit all NY/NJ (subway, light rail, commuter) into one map!).View attachment GreaterBoston_v1.4.png
So, general commentary and hopefully-constructive criticism. I think the map looks good, and you obviously put in a ton of work (if I'd tried to wrangle that many layers in Adobe Illustrator I'd have wound up throwing my laptop against a wall in frustration). I do think that the lines are too thin, which exacerbates the problem caused by the overall size resulting from fully depicting the Commuter Rail lines. (I recall that as a common problem in the design-a-map contest that resulted in the official system map: fat lines are less aesthetically pleasing, but they do wonders for readability. Annoyingly difficult to fix without adjusting the spacing, though.) I have basically the same critique of the station names; the kerning's a bit tight and the font is too thin (it's also bugging me, in part because my brain insists it should be Helvetica, and because I can't quite identify the font). I don't think the bolding of the transfer stations is particularly useful, especially given that it's also used for end-of-line stations, but I could well be in the minority in that nitpick. I will say that I do not
like the way you indicated individual-line stations, I think the official map's white in-line dots are more readable and look cleaner to boot. That's particularly true on the Green Line, where the white-dash "light rail" indicator adds visual clutter that I don't think is all that useful (that it's technically LRT versus HRT isn't, to me, enormously significant for the average rider; moreover, broken-dash lines have historically indicated future or suspended service here.). Okay, the designer in me's done with the nitpicking. (Actually, no, one more very minor one, technically Amtrak just calls it Acela
now, they got rid of the "Express" part.)
It's a great work, and I'm glad you posted it. There are some elements that I think would be great adds to the official map (it makes me very, very happy for slaying that idiotic false-geographic nightmare on the Green Line alone), and it's a very attractive piece of design. I'd absolutely love to see more of your designs (particularly DC). [Note to the T: please add the BlueBikes icon to the map, it's such a low-hanging fruit.]