Just as general observation, there is a ton of white space in Cambridge, the Charles, and Back Bay. Perhaps you can rethink the size and orientation of the legend and redistribute some of that white space. If it helps at all, GLX Medford branch can really be compressed - this makes it look like E Somerville and Gilman are important. Lots of white in the lower right corner too.
I really like this concept of compressing less important information at the edges. I think you could deemphasize the geography a little more to make a stronger diagram.
Also, I find the bus coloration very confusing. I think customers will stare at this map for a long time without ever figuring out that the colors don’t mean anything at all. I don’t think that is good map design. Using gray or brown for all buses will give a simpler and clearer message
Great thoughts. Yes, the excess white space in certain parts is a challenge. I want to compress Cambridge further; ideally, I'd have the Red Line run entirely in a straight line from Charles/MGH to at least Harvard. But I'd ideally like to keep the T1 in as much of a straight line as well, so there's a bit of a conflict there. The Charles and Back Bay look
like they could be compressed, but I've found that I need to put "Hynes Convention Center" on three lines, which limits how much I can compress the space between the Green Line and the river.
Agreed about compressing the Medford Branch. It gets a little messy in terms of fitting in the bus destination labels, but I think there's room to experiment there.
I personally agree about the potential for deemphasizing geography further, though I'm less confident where
I could really do so. I am open to suggestions. I'm also mindful (as discussed somewhere around this point in this video
) that there are apparently some voices at the T who feel quite strongly that there should be a geographically accurate shoreline, so I'm trying to make a design that walks that tightrope.
Re bus line colors: theoretically
, I've color-coded them based on the rapid transit route they terminate at or otherwise feed into; e.g. all of the Harvard and Kendall routes are red, the Kenmore and Copley routes are green and so on. In general, I like this idea because I think it helps clarify the structure of the network.
In practice, I think it makes the map look livelier, which is fun but also potentially distracting or overwhelming. If it wasn't self-evident to you that the lines were color-coded based on "parent" rapid transit route, then perhaps the idea just simply isn't viable.
I did a quick test of using silver and bronze (bronze = 15 min or better all day, silver = 10 min or better all day, see here
), and it definitely does make the bus lines more muted. (Apologies for the low-res screenshot.)
Dividing up into a "high-freq" and a "super-high-freq" is somewhat arbitrary -- I don't necessarily care about communicating the frequency info, but I would like to avoid making all the routes the same color, because I think that
looks overwhelming. But maybe it's not worth the confusion of multiple colors?
Overall feedback, it looks very clean and is quite easy to read. I have one aesthetic issue, and two points regarding missing information:
- Aesthetically, it bothers me that the geographic features make Boston look like a river city and not a river plus coastal city. It's not a big deal, but it would be nice to see some of Dorchester bay reflected in the geographic template.
- Is it possible to extend the regional rail lines so that their arrows are past the last subway transfer point? It would be useful to see the connections at Forest Hills, JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, Braintree, Malden, and Oak Grove.
- It is probably too much of a space management challenge, but it would be cool if the D line could line up more accurately with C, in the same way that the C and B line up together. Washington/Washington Square show as parallel, but then Beaconsfield, which is just as close to Washington Square as Washington, doesn't look like it is anywhere near the other station.
Anyway, big thumbs up, I really do like the clarity and am quite impressed by how much thought and effort you've put in to the design.
Thanks for the kind words!
Sacrificing Dorchester Bay was part of the compromise I saw necessary to convert the southern Red Line into the diagrammatic style -- showing too much of the coastline would suggest geographic fidelity in an area I was trying to avoid doing that. (I also removed it because I realized it could save me from having to show City Point, which made it easier to compress the eastern edge of the map.)
That being said, I like your point about Boston being a river + coastal city, so let's try this:
The Regional Rail arrows are placed along the same circumference as the bus lines; RR stops within the "loosely geographic zone" are marked with a "tab" similar to today's map (see Ruggles, Lansdowne, Back Bay and Porter). Once you move into the diagrammatic zone, they're marked with the same style as the buses. For the most part, I'm not married to this idea -- it would be trivial to extend the Haverhill, Lowell, Providence, and Old Colony Lines; what gives me pause is the Newburyport/Rockport Line and needing to show the connection at Chelsea. Unlike the others, which are parallel connections, that would be a perpendicular connection, and a bit messier.
Do you and @Java King
not feel that the purple "RR" labels next to the transfer stations are sufficient indicators?
I second the feedback about the Regional Rail lines. Every T-Subway station that connects to regional rail is shown with a "RR" except Porter Square in Cambridge. I noticed the RR was missing. Also, I think you could easily walk from Landsdowne on RR to Fenway on Green line. So, it seems like it should have some dotted lines to indicate that.
As mentioned above, Porter, Ruggles, Back Bay, South Station, and North Station lack the "RR" label due to being within the "loosely geographic zone".
Yeah, I think either Fenway
(or both) could merit a dotted line. I did consider it but one reason I opted against it was that I wasn't sure whether it would be considered a "recommended" transfer; at six minutes, Fenway would be longer than any other indicated transfer (except for Riverway - Brookline Village and possibly Ruggles - MFA). And it wasn't immediately obvious to me what journeys are enabled by a RR <> GL transfer there, but I guess there are some. (The other reason I opted against it was because it seemed like it would be hard to add in! But probably it's not as hard as it looks.)
Depending on whether this map assumes current or prospective service, Riverside could have an "RR" as well.
Then again, if that service is assumed to be running, it would probably need to be shown like the Fairmount and that would blow up your whole map.
It's meant to indicate current service, with as much future-proofing for prospective service as possible. In theory, frequent service through to Auburndale could be shown without huge changes to the map, using the "dangling diagram" approach used elsewhere on the map. For example, as an extremely rough sketch:
(This is a conversation for another thread, but I believe that Riverside itself will never see rapid transit frequencies from the B&A. There's high enough demand on the main line further out, e.g. Framingham, Marlboro, Worcester, such that you'll already be seeing modestly high frequencies at Auburndale. What's more likely, I think, is a light filler service that terminates, perhaps, 2 trains per hour at Riverside in order to max out the cumulative frequencies once the branch rejoins the mainline. So, the service should be marked, but I don't think it would be reliably "turn up and go".)