Hong Kong MTR with Station Numbering

mtr with station numbering

The Inkscape standard font YuMincho is really close to the Chinese font used on the actual MTR, but interacts oddly with fonts using the Roman alphabet and doesn’t have the appropriate character for the “Kai” in Kai Tak, all of which proved massively entertaining for monolingual Anglophone yours truly.

A station numbering system for the MTR, based off the one in Singapore, which can be implemented once the West Rail and Ma On Shan Lines are joined together in 2019. Singapore’s system of individual station codes and destination numbers works best, I felt, because the MTR’s existing platform-based numbering system plus the abundance of cross-platform interchanges means there’s a greater need to differentiate between directions of service than there is with other systems.

It also did the least amount of damage to the MTR’s current wayfinding standards. Here, for instance, are some examples of strip maps that would be found within the system:

…and here’s how it would affect the MTR’s existing signage.


Short version: train symbols would only be used to point toward all trains, line names (two letters in rounded boxes because one letter in a squared-off box is for the exits) to point toward both directions of a particular line, destination number to point toward a particular direction of service. Mickey Mouse head always points toward Disneyland when not at Sunny Bay station.

Posted in hong kong, maps, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Paris Metro map, v. 1.(something + 1)

paris metro

Once more something something.

I wanted to hold off on posting this for a bit but the laptop’s going in for a lengthy repair job…again…so my hand has been forced.

Anyway, Konovalov just finished his Paris Metro map. (If that link doesn’t work, it’s also here.) It’s what happens when you take Russian transit map design principles and marry them to the RATP house style, and it’s gorgeous. More specifically:

  • The map shows more landmarks and parks than the official map, like Notre Dame, the Pompidou Centre, the Bastille, Sacre-Coeur, the Moulin Rouge, and so forth. This may indicate who the map is for (tourists) more than anything else, but it will help them orient themselves a bit more above ground.
  • The particular interchange symbols used allows for a bit more routing flexibility, which is especially helpful where the T3a intersects with Lines 7 and 8, so one line doesn’t have to run parallel with the other.
  • The fare zones are delineated along the RER/Transilien only, which is a more accurate representation of the Ile-de-France fare structure than what I’d come up with.
  • The northern edge of the map is delineated with the grand sweeping arc of the T1, which means we don’t have to see all of the T8 and a substantial chunk of the T5 for no good reason.
  • Speaking of grand sweeping arcs, Line 15 is portrayed beautifully. (As are under construction lines more generally, pulling them about as far back in the information hierarchy as possible without removing them entirely.)
  • And, perhaps most importantly for my purposes here, it features extensions to Lines 4, 10, and 12 that I missed. Also, the station spacing is very even.

I mention this because, inspired by Konovalov’s masterpiece, I updated my own map so it included all those extensions, and uh…

Continue reading

Posted in maps, paris, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

San Francisco/NorCal Commuter Rail, Crayon Edition

sf bart mk 2

Better late blech.

This one was like pulling teeth, thanks primarily to a laptop and vector graphics editor that just did not want to behave, and the slow and horrifying realization that this thing wants to suggest a world beyond itself and I would therefore have to sketch several more maps to get this thing to look the way I wanted. Some of those might be fleshed out later.

Resources: this BART expansion map, the 1924 Rand McNally maps of California, the 1921 Official Guide to the Railways, this Marin County interurban map and 1937 Bay Area map from the Greater Marin, these Central Valley interurban maps, these 1932 Bay Area streetcar maps, this Peninsular Railway map and service outline, and quite a few local railway historical society websites.


Posted in maps, san francisco, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

California Regional Rail Sketch

california regional

The kids love that circuitboard aesthetic.

This is a sketch of a regional rail system for the state of California. I don’t ever expect to fully flesh it out or make it pretty so I might as well post it here as is.

I drew this for one and only one reason: I’m working on a crayon map of the SF Bay Area that’s spiraled out of control, so now it doesn’t cover just SF, but also Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Yuba City-Marysville, Stockton, Modesto, and Merced. And now, since the shown area is so big and covers metropolitan areas, I figured I’d draw a separate map showing all the different regional/intercity services. Furthermore, in the fantasyland the network depicted exists in, there’s a hierarchy to the different services not unlike what’s in (say) Germany, where you have an S-Bahn for local services in a given metropolitan area, and a statewide regional network serving places further afield. And I had no idea what exactly the regional network looked like, so I had to draw the whole thing to make sense of it.

Sources: the Rand McNally 1924 maps of Northern & Southern California, Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona, and this 2013 Census Bureau map of metropolitan/micropolitan area boundaries.

Posted in maps, san francisco, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BART Fare Map

bart fare map

It’s three in the morning and I can’t sleep, so I drew this. Partially because BART could use one of these, as its fare structure is distance-based and not zone-based, and partially because depicting the BART lines as fanning out from San Francisco says more about the nature of the network than the X-shape we’re used to.

I’m very tired.

Posted in maps, san francisco, Uncategorized, urbanism | Leave a comment

Chukyo Rail Map

nagoya rail map


This is way overdue.

Mostly finished last summer, then put to the side until Meitetsu rolled out a station numbering plan, which you and I both know was only a matter of time. They finally did last week, which means I could actually complete the blasted thing properly.

Mostly useful as a refinement of and dry run for the design language I want to use for the Tokyo map, once I get around to it. Also to my knowledge only one other English map of the entire Chukyo railway network exists, for whatever that’s worth.

(In one of my less sane moments I realized I could easily stitch all these maps together to make one giant map of Japan’s entire railway network, but such a map would face almost Borgesian usability challenges. A map of all the country’s limited express trains would probably make more sense.)

Posted in maps, nagoya, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Xrail Strip Map

xrail elizabeth line

Why are we calling it the Elizabeth Line. Why why why why why why bloody why.


Not in the right frame of mind to work on Big Maps right now, so here’s a strip map of Crossrail. Yes, it’s got fare zones. Light yellow & light orange (Paris colors) work a heckuva lot better than white & light gray (London colors); more soothing and less jarring. I’m not dignifying Zone 2/3 with its own special color if it’s only got one station in it; placing Stratford on the border gets the message across well enough.

I still maintain they should assign letters to each tube line and numbers for each Overground line. (Tradition schmadition. Some traditions are stupid. Also when they started assigning letters for each line in the Tokyo Metro no one started calling the Ginza Line “Line G.”) Elizabeth line, barf, is Line 1; Xrail 2 is Line 2 (literally the only reason we’re starting with Xrail); Thameslink is Line 3; Overground starts with 4 and goes up, ‘cept for the Romford-Upminster Line, it’s a glorified shuttle slash branch line, it gets to be Line 1a. Great for colorblind users, great for deciphering that giant orange mess, and more and more of an imperative as Tee Eff Ell swallows more and more suburban rail lines. Also, if I spelled out the names of every tube line the type would be very small indeed.

Just assume every station has street-to-train step-free access. Updated & included proper step-free access info. Sources are here and here, and are contradictory.

Posted in london, maps, Uncategorized | Leave a comment