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.


About theoditsek

I like going places.
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