Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The MBTA Map Competition Finals

In the Spring Boston's MBTA launched a competition to redesign the system map. The six finalists have been announced and you can vote for one of them until September 20th. I'm partial to "Map 4" by Kenneth Mirsaki though it has several cartographic problems.
It's not the most clear or easy to read map and those weird grey shadows which I guess are supposed to represent surface routes leave a false impression of elevated tracks. Still, I like the overall design concept and am not one of those people who think transit maps must conform to 45 degree angles.

"Map 1" should probably win. Less interesting but much better clarity. Also pleasing to the 45 degree partisans.
The other ones leave me with a "meh" reaction. I don't really like skinny lines and overly schematic looks.
For reference here is the current "Spider Map" used by the MBTA.

More interesting than any of this are some of the entries that didn't make the final cut. For example this sweet little needlepoint map (left) or the tree map. Neither of these will get you very far if you don't already know your way around.

There's also one I refer to as the "Chicago" map (below left) because that's what the geography looks like to me and a hideous but useful map showing distances from Downtown Crossing.

Cast your vote soon! Thanks to blog reader Christine for pointing out some of these. 

1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

I can't deal with the squidy Green Line in your first pick. The hideous but useful time graphic is a good idea, but wow. Too hideous to be useful.