MBTA System Map Contest

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MBTA System Map Contest

Postby CRail » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:02 pm

In the MBTA's contest to come up with an improved system map, members of the public were challenged to come up with updated maps offering more creative and innovative features, informative techniques, and a new look. The 6 map finalists are posted for voting here.

I voted:
#1.) Maybe, #2.) Definitely Not, #3.)Probably Not, #4.)Definitely Not, #5.) Definitely, #6.) Definitely Not

Comments:
#1 doesn't offer much change and has poor geographic representation. It is not an improvement from the current map.
#2 and #6 are both way too busy which would likely confuse both visiting and visually impaired passengers.
#2 and #3 show the inbound terminus of Green Line branches which are subject to both temporary and permanent change.
#5 is superior, offering the most informative blend of geographic and schematic information.

General comments: Color and font consistencies are important. Line colors should match the signage colors which should match the equipment (the trains themselves). All MBTA signage has a designed scheme using all capital Helvetica type font. These schemes should be followed consistently throughout MBTA signage and system information.
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:04 pm

The only "definitely" I gave was on #1. Unfortunately, I can't go back and give a break down of my opinions because once you vote, you can't see them again.
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby MBTA1016 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:03 pm

I voted definitely on 5, the others I voted either maybe or definitely not. I also looked at the others on the T website, interesting what people came up with.
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby Amtrak7 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:12 pm

My opinions:

Map 1: eh. Similar to current one
Map 2 overly emphasizes commuter rail
Map 3: Second choice. Make the Blue and Orange lines a little thicker.
Map 4 underemphasizes Green Line
Map 5: I like the scale transition ring. Best of the bunch.
Map 6: the black transfer stations are too visually bold
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby The EGE » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:44 pm

Yikes. Some of these are hideous. #2 is amateurish graphic design, with horrifically contrasting colors and no sense of streamlining. #4 appears to have abandoned straight lines altogether, while the Green Line becomes a full-quadrant wing in #1 and #5. #6 is clunky, with the massively sized transfers and bus routes that aren't differentiated from subways.

#3 is by far the best of the bunch - massively simplified geography, good focus on the rapid transit lines without hiding the bus and commuter rail, and overall clean design. The frequency indications by the multiple route lines works very well, though the Orange and Blue do need thickened so they're all the same thickness downtown.

#3 is also very heavily based on the current map, and for good reason. There are some things very wrong with the current map - the clunky bus routes, and lots of lazy design decisions - but the fundamental work is workable.

I don't like his Green Line shapes, but Cam Booth's is what the T should actually be looking for. (He declined to participate for very good reasons relating to the rules of the contest).

Or stick with the original Cambridge Seven Associates map. They knew how to do simple right.

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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:01 pm

The original 1960s map remained until the mid-1990s, well after the Orange Line reconstruction.

Maps 2 and 6 look European in feel. 3 is a modification of the current map.

It is hard to create an "iconic" design that becomes an international icon, like the London Underground map. The NYC Subway map is also familiar worldwide (designed by John Tauranac and Michael Hertz in 1979 and modified in 1998).

Map 2 resembles Eddie Jabbour's NYC Subway map.

Map 4 attempts to follow the geographic routes of the lines in a stylish form (with artistic license).

The Cam Booth version resembles the London style.
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby CRail » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:18 pm

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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby connartist88h » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:05 pm

As someone who walks the downtown core and expects many more to do so when GC is closed, map 5 has earned my vote but I would redraw a few items.

Map 2 is my least favorite because it makes the commuter rail ROWs running parallel to rapid transit look like express lines, which will confuse tourists expecting such service.

The first four maps all keep the spacing of the Green Line branches relatively scaled. Map 6 seems to do the most in terms of connecting the dots between rapid transit and key buses, at the expense of drawing lines to scale. While the 86 bus isn't a key route, putting it on the map would help show the proximity of the stations along Chestnut Hill Avenue.

Map 5 is the only map that correctly shows the routing of the 77 bus (Mass Ave) in relation to the Red Line, running parallel between Harvard and Porter, then south of Davis but north of Alewife.
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby artman » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:20 am

Globe website has the six finalists plus 20 runners-up. Some interesting, creative ideas in the runners-up

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/boston/m ... llery.html
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby Disney Guy » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:09 pm

I liked #5 the best. It best shows lines and stations positioned relative to each other.

I think it (or also the current map) should be morphed so the part in the middle and to the left (west parts) are a little larger since there are more items in that area.
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby diburning » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:56 pm

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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby MBTA1016 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:11 pm

diburning wrote:Can I vote for this one? :P

http://www.cascadilla.com/arlington/bostonanagram.html


That's funny, I vote for this one lol
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby CRail » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:13 pm

I bought the poster, I LOVE that map!
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:35 pm

That is brilliant!
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Re: MBTA System Map Contest

Postby joshg1 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:33 pm

That anagram map is divine. This is what I wrote in the comments box-
I want the style of map 5, with the geographic accuracy, and design and legibility of bus routes from map 4. Do not include the Boston city limits on any map. Maps 1 and 3 are nearly the same as the current map, with the exception that the buses and CR are illegible on map 3. I don't have the best eyesight.

Maps 2 and 6 are worse than anything I've ever seen, and their selection should embarrass the selectors.


I had trouble reading some of the faint backgrounds, and one of the things I like about the current map is the inclusion of a few bus lines. Because I am familiar with the system, and how inconsistent it is (people are), I don't think including travel times was relevant.

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