Universal subway map design rules

Adding to the “long names” point, I’m annoyed, just as a commuter, that the directions of subway lines are named according to their last stop (EDIT: in NYC), which can be a quite distant, unfamiliar places if you live toward one end of the line or the other. Though “in-bound” and “out-bound” might prove an oversimplification, something like this would be nice.

I can’t seem to keep Glenmont and Shady Grove straight. I transfer to that line in the center of the city, so both directions are outbound. Though, One is northeasterly, the other northwesterly.

Agreed. I came here to refute point #1 because A good number of major cities are coastal (duh) and have their ‘centre’ on the edge.

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The circle line is sadly not a circle any more. It now spirals out from Edgware Road, round its old route, before passing itself at Edgware Road again and swinging out to Hammersmith.

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I saw a talk by professor Max Roberts (who can be found at tube map central) and he’s done a dozen redesigns of the London tube map. Since Beck, the system has got over complicated so that the current official map is too busy and confusing.

One of his principles is that strictly sticking to octolinear lines (horizontal, vertical and two diagonals) isn’t necessarily useful, and you should use the system that works for your map. In London, using a hexalinear system (horizontal, 60 degrees and 120 degrees) means that you greatly reduce the number of curves inside the circle line, which makes the city centre much clearer.

Also, something he said in his talk was that just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it isn’t better. In testing, lots of maps work better than the official ones (in the sense that people can find better routes faster) but they will then say they like the old map more.

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