PATH in a Perfect World

Okay, not perfect. This world still has capitalism.

Okay, not perfect. This world still has capitalism.

This is probably this idea’s third iteration, developed after much frustration & caffeine headaches. If the Port Authority attempted to build this today it’d probably cost about a trillion bucks (they apparently burn most of the money they receive over there).

The line between LIC & Jamaica runs along the old Lower Montauk Branch. The line between Grand Central and 135 St runs under Madison Avenue.

If you know a thing or two about NYC Subway history you know what I’m talking about when I say this comes from a “perfect world”…

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The Best Transit Maps

Inspirations & admirations. Links either go to the official page, the page of the designer, or its entry on the Transit Maps tumblr (a veritable transit map design museum).


  • The Berlin U- and S-Bahn map (click on the “Route Map” bullet).
  • Project Mapping’s diagram of the exceptionally labyrinthine London and SE England commuter rail network. (Interestingly, although I have nothing but respect for Beck’s contribution to the transit map, er, universe, I’ve never been a super-huge fan of the tube map itself. Probably because TfL has mangled it beyond recognition.)
  • The Los Angeles Metrorail map (with U/C or commuter routes).
  • The Montreal Metro map. (No, not the one on the official website. This one.)
  • Art Lebedev’s Moscow Metro map.
  • The Vignelli Weekender map and Super Bowl transport map for New York City.
  • The Paris RER/Transilien network map.



  • Cameron Booth regularly spins straw into gold. Here’s his Boston ‘T’ map and Portland MAX/streetcar map.
  • Michael Tyznik’s Columbus light rail map.
  • H4vok_13’s map of the TRAX system in Salt Lake City.
  • Jug Cerovic and ZEROPERZERO are both responsible for some incredible maps of Seoul.
  • Brent Palmer is responsible for the best AU/NZ transit maps around. Unfortunately, his visible portfolio could also be best described as “turbulent.” Here’s an older frequent transit map of Wellington that I think represents him at his best.


  • Hammink Design’s circular map of the Amsterdam Metro and tram network.
  • Also in Amsterdam, Dave Kramer’s map of the Randstad regional rail network.
  • Speaking of Harry Beck, his proposed redesign of the Paris Metro map is fascinating, in a scenes-from-an-alternate-universe sort of way.
  • ZEROPERZERO’s map of the Tokyo subway is the only one around that articulates a fundamental truth about the city’s rail network and is for that reason the best one ever made.
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Välkommen till Omfattandestad

Didn’t realize till just now that Ian Silva updated the main Koana Islands map so more placenames are in Koanian instead of English. I’ll have to update my own maps eventually as well.

One of the things on my ever-shifting to-do list is a map of the Conneaut Metro Tunnelbana so I’m now thinking of doing an MTR-esque bilingual thing for that one.

Also he and his GF are cookin’ up a cool new country as well, with more German/Dutch influence. Check it out!

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Seoul Metropolitan Subway

There we go.

There we go.

The current Seoul Subway maps (there are several) are terrible, and I didn’t think the design language (i.e. signage) used in the stations would lend itself to something that looks good, so this thing was built from scratch.

I realized I liked the design language I used for this thing enough that I wanted to use it again. Probably not as successful (too much white space) but it ain’t bad, neither.

This was supposed to be as future-proofed as possible but I had a hard time finding complete information–in English–about what the Seoul transport people wanted to build by 2020. F’rinstance, I don’t know if the Gimpo subway line’s supposed to have seven, eight, or ten stations, nor do I know what their names are. Also it sounds like they’re planning on building like ten LRT lines by the end of this decade, only one or two of which were drawn on this map. So it probably won’t be accurate by the time 2020 actually rolls around. On the other hand, this is the only map I’m aware of which actually shows the two DMZ trains.

Other good Seoul maps: Jug Cerovic’s (I may not be fond of his standardization project but his Seoul map is excellent) and (once again) ZEROPERZERO’s.

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Boston MTA Vision

Oh, if only.

Oh, if only.

Sources: Rand McNally’s 1924 railroad atlas (which has been an invaluable resource for these things, believe you me) and SPUI’s map of the Boston streetcar network as of 1940.

I’ve been wanting to get this one out of my head for a while, but it took a while for this one to fully, like, metastasize, mostly because the original design language I was using was giving me a headache. The MBTA rapid transit map, historically, is one of the most beautiful examples of minimalism in transit map design ever made, so I wanted to show as much respect as possible for that long and storied tradition (that said, the current MBTA map is, alas, pretty terrible). I originally wanted to draw this thing in the style of those old MBTA maps but that proved very unworkable very fast, largely because it’s not a good design when you have multiple routes operating on the same line. But I still wanted something stark and simple and angular (and which didn’t rip off Vignelli, because this is Boston and that would be sacrilege), so I ripped off the Stockholm T-Bane design instead.

(Also I associate bold stripes of color set against a white background with baseball, so the stripes of red, orange, green, and blue seemed appropriate for the capital of Red Sox Nation.)

One look at this and you’ll understand precisely why the Atlantic Avenue El (the gray “E” line, for Everett) was not long for this world.

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Yet Another Strip Map



Inspiration. Thought about exploring this idea a little more. Maybe next time I’ll do something that’d actually appear on a platform.

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Transit Map To-Do List: Aug. 2014

For me.


  • Chicago L (include legend & commuter rail routes)
  • Tokyo rail map update (I fixed a bunch of errors and tweaked a few routes to better reflect reality & possibility; I’m holding off on posting it b/c I wanna experiment with fonts a little—picking Futura, whose lowercase ‘a’ and ‘o’ are indisinguishable unless they’re really big, turned out to be a really terrible idea.)


  • Seoul Metropolitan Subway (done!)
  • Nederlandse Spoorwegen
  • Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn and NR-W Regional-Express & Regionalbahn
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