Hiroden Map


Today I’m Russian.

First serious attempt at a Russian/Ukrainian-style transit map, this one for the relatively substantial Hiroshima streetcar network. Wanted to test it out on a mid-size, easy-to-draw system to see what works and what doesn’t before I tried this style on something bigger…like St Petersburg…or the Rhine-Ruhr…

Shrine icon from here, castle icon from here, other icons are original and (in the case of the Cenotaph) way too much of a pain to draw. Font is Meneghino, by the great Dmitry Goloub. The ligatures are wonderful, though I wish it came in bold.

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Insert pithy comment here.

Insert pithy comment here.

New map of stale idea. Doubt it’ll happen anytime soon.

Thoughts to everyone in Paris.

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RER C Strip Map with Station Numbering

Why Fira Sans? Because Parisine is expensive.

Why Fira Sans? Because Parisine is expensive.

Max Roberts is perhaps unique amongst transit map people in that he does not like the Paris Metro map. Like someone glued a bunch of popsicle sticks together, he describes it.* What’s interesting is he also says that, thanks to the network’s sheer density and complexity, it’s more or less impossible to create a good map of the Paris Metro.

On that score, at least, he’s probably right. The Paris Metro map is as successful as it is mostly because of the distinctly Parisian visual identity it creates versus any simplification of the routes themselves. Other designers’ attempts at conquering this beast have only been partially successful, so what to do?

As it happens, the Ile-de-France railway network is particularly well-suited to station numbering. Most of the time, one pair of tracks corresponds to a distinct Metro/RER/Transilien service. And a well-developed and well-implemented station numbering plan can rescue a truly abominable transit map. The official map of the Tokyo Metro, f’rinstance, is horrifying, but the system itself is still extremely easy to navigate because every station in the system is numbered. I, an idiot American tourist whose Japanese is limited to a few stock phrases, have had to navigate the system several times on my own and I have never got lost once. This, again, despite an official map that makes my eyes bleed.

So here we are. The basic idea is that the numbers get higher the farther out you go (this also allows for extensions in either direction). Stations on branches are numbered according to whatever number their branches were traditionally assigned (so stations on the C5 branch to Versailles-Château are numbered C5XX). Other notes:

  • I’m aware the C8 branch from Savigny to Versailles will be taken over by the Tram Express Sud (which we’ll get to), but I did want to see how it would look in this particular scheme.
  • I (hopefully) included any interchanges with other RER/Transilien/Metro/tram lines, including the Grand Paris Express.
  • The Tram Express lines were renamed T11, T12, and T13 because calling ’em Tram Express Nord, Sud, and Ouest just bothered me the same way the initial plan to name the Grand Paris Express lines the Red Line, Orange Line, &c. bothered me. The existing naming conventions are just fine, honest.

I have no idea how to incorporate station numbers into the existing Metro map(s). Perhaps that’ll be a project for when I’m not completely burnt out on drawing big huge regional metro/commuter rail maps anymore.


*I happen to really like it, but feel the Ile-de-France regional map is more successful because the thick lines and sweeping curves of the RER and Transilien provide a clear backbone for everything else, and because I know for a fact that it’ll be good until at least 2030…and may in fact become more prominent as the Grand Paris Express is completed. That said, there’s still a place for the Paris Metro map we know and (mostly) love, and as the outer suburban Metro lines are completed it’ll probably be less useful as a map for The Metro and more useful as a map for Inner Paris City. Anyway.

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New York Subway Station Numbering System

Everything almost fits together.

Everything almost fits together.

The DC Metro station numbering map gave me ideas. Done in strip map style because (a) the MTA’s in-house strip map design looks cool, and (b) I would rather get hit by a car than draw the full NYC subway map again. (I’m like a third to halfway through a Big Multi-Map Project centering on The Great and Terrible City and it’s giving me a headache.)

Includes a fully built-out Second Avenue Subway in case it wasn’t clear this was a work of fantasy.

[Update: fixed the N/Q/R/W strip map so that weird jog at DeKalb Street is gone. Also that last paragraph got way funnier once the MTA’s 2015-9 capital plan was released.]

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The Problem with the Las Vegas Monorail, Rendered Condescendingly in Several Bullets

  • It’s not legitimate mass transit.
  • It’s an extension of an inter-casino shuttle. Their primary market is casino tourists.
  • Vegas has tons of shuttles like that. When I was there in ’07 I rode the one connecting Mandalay Bay to Excalibur. It was very nice and very convenient.
  • It’s still not legitimate mass transit.
  • The monorail only serves one side of the Strip. The Strip is not flanked by casinos on one side. It is flanked by casinos on two sides.
  • More importantly, it serves the back of one side. Makes connecting to surface transit on the street known officially as Las Vegas Boulevard quite difficult.
  • It does not function as legitimate mass transit.
  • There is still no connection to McCarran Airport.
  • There is still no connection to Downtown.
  • There is still no connection to anyplace anywhere that’s not The East Side Of The Strip, or any major employment center that is not The East Side Of The Strip.
  • There is no reason for anyone who actually lives in Las Vegas to ride the monorail.
  • Therefore the only people who actually ride the monorail are casino tourists.
  • Specifically, casino tourists on the east side of the Strip who need to be elsewhere on the east side of the Strip.
  • That is not a big market. That is why the monorail has in the past flirted with or gone into bankruptcy.
  • That is also why the monorail is in roughly the same category as your average heritage tramway.
  • …and is not legitimate mass transit.
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Eboracal Metropolitan, Mk. II

Thinking about updating that fantasy New York subway map from last November.

Here’s what I wanna do:

  • Incorporate that plan for a NJ Rapid Transit network, as depicted here and here. [done]
  • Extend the map westward to show extensions of the 7 and L to New Jersey. [done]
  • Show through-running for commuter rail, using this as a foundation. [done]
  • Turn the A branch between the E 180 St A station and the 179 St F station into a shuttle. [done]
  • Get rid of the Sixth Avenue El (mostly redundant thanks to 1/2/3 from Lower Manhattan to UWS, and at no point did it coexist with the Sixth Avenue Subway anyway). The 13 can be a new line that takes over the Second System 7 branch to Whitestone and shares track with the 7 till Hell’s Kitchen, at which point it branches off to Hudson Yards and possibly points south via the High Line. The 16 would be rebranded as the 14. [done]
  • Extend the U and X lines from Brooklyn Army Terminal to Staten Island. [done]
  • Include Staten Island Railway; extend terminal from St George to Manhattan. [done]

Idle thoughts for a small weekend project. [Which “small weekend project” turned out to be substantially less small and less weekend than I thought it would be. I’m three maps in to what will either be a five- or six-map ~*~*adventure.*~*~]

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Baltimore RER

Pure fantasy.

Pure fantasy.

Companion map to the DC RER thing. The Metro network implied here is slightly different to what’s shown in that other Baltimore Metro map I did so very long ago; Line F is no longer a diesel shuttle from Cockeysville to Monkton—that was taken over by a northern RER branch—but is instead a Metro line that uses the alignment they should have used for the light rail (goes through Towson instead of around it, f’rinstance); and Line E generally instead of exactly follows the alignment of the late and very much lamented Red Line (and has a branch to Edgemere using an old freight line). The B/C/D light rail line is still there, of course, functioning as a local line for the RER L north-south mainline.

In an earlier draft, there were eight southern branches peeling off the RER L from the south. This was troubling, because the max number of branches you can have off a two-track commuter rail mainline and still have some semblance of frequent service is four. (Even the RER C in Paris, in all its impenetrable complexity, only has three branches from the north/west and four from the south/east.) So I broke some of the minor Baltimore City branches off into their own line (RER N), which I had terminate at the stub-end platforms at Camden Yards,* and turned the Fort Meade branch into a shuttle.

I didn’t do a “realistic” version of this map. If I did, the RER K would just run from Odenton to Edgewood, and the RER L would run from Laurel to Camden Yards.

(Thanks also to twitter user Transit Plans for suggesting a sorely needed transfer station between the two big lines.)


*I wanted the RER N to terminate at North Avenue, but the big chokepoint here is the Howard Street Tunnel. From all the photographs and aerial views I’ve seen, it looks like it only has one track, and given space restrictions in the area, any hypothetical replacement would probably only have two at most. I needed those two tracks for the RER L north-south mainline. Two tracks can take four branches, so I was uncomfortable having seven branches clog up that section of track. Furthermore, one track can only take two commuter rail branches, so if we allow the RER L one track under Howard Street, half the trains coming from the south would have to terminate at Camden Yards anyway.

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