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The city center is always at the center of the map, and it zooms into those congested lines. All lines must run vertical, horizontal, or at 45-degree angles (again, for visual simplicity).
Now if this work seems superficial, I’d urge you to read more about the science of subway mapmaking.
Start Gallery Start GallerySpend enough time on the New York City subway system to travel through a few stops, (without panicking), and you’ll find that each station has its own design quirks.
The interface shows a (real-life) dingy Chambers Street station view across platforms in the background with easy-to-navigate train lines. Sign up for the Paste newsletter Get our daily summary of the day's top articles and new items. The first thing that immediately comes to mind is how much better the London Underground's graphic design is. Unless you include Heavy Rail Networks, in which case London and Tokyo are miles in front of NY. The Tube map has a clear, crisp and (almost) timeless design, which hasn't changed much over the past 50 years.
Therefore it's quite safe to say that Beck's original design is an 'evergreen', and the most long-lasting and succesful map design ever. The MTA map is downright conservative, trying to get as close to the 'real' situation as possible.


Put in historical perspective, the (M)TA hasn't had a map design as long lasting and succesful as the Tube Map. Londons and I'm not because it's London, because it is clear and gives a sense of the size of it, the other two are just a mess.
New York's map is the best because it is drawn over a map of the city and will be helpful for tourists. The other two are confusing for first time visitors who have no idea where the station is in relation to their actual physical location. MTA - If I know where I want to go but don't know how far the station is from my destination, I can get a good estimate of the distance by looking at the geographically accurate map and can decide which line to take to that general area.
Yeah, Manhattan does look a bit wide (never really noticed til now), but probably to allow all the lines to space out a little. Tourist map of Manhattan, showing Museums, buildings of interest, and various neighborhoods. The colors are standardized." class="">The train lines only run specific, simplified angles. You can browse 118 tiled station signs, (as of now), along with a random fact about each one, via train lines in order. London's map (as with most UK media creations) looks so much more polished than the others - it's just as big as the Tokyo map, but looks far less cluttered.
Then, if it comes down to graphic layout, I concur with you up to the moment where you make the incomprehensible swing to the MTA map. The only thing remarkably different between a Tube map from 1955 compared to the present one is (except for the Victoria and Jubilee lines added, of course) the integrated zoning system. It's the 'mother of all maps', just as the represented system is the 'mother of all systems'.


Though it does a good job in doing so, the geographic approach results in an incomprehensible clutter in downtown Manhattan and even more so in downtown Brooklyn. In the past 50 years, we have seen no less than four different (including this one) designs roll by.
Even as it maintains a schematic design - just like the Tube map - it reduces the lines into a clutter of colors, overlaid with (incomprehensible) station symbols and names. While the schematic maps may be better from an overall orginizational standpoint, the current maps give you a much better sense of where you REALLY are in the system and in the city.
Distinct lines with clear, horizontal typography, are vital in conceptualizing a transit network in a glance.
New Yorker and designer Adam Chang, felt moved to document the stylistic intricacies of his city’s metro stops through the NY Train Project.
It took Adam 20 hours and nine MTA card swipes to make it through and document the subway lines in Manhattan.
The Vignelli map (my favorite) came closest to the Tube map's design, but unfortunately, it didn't last. No word yet as to if Chang will tackle the outer boroughs’ stops, including his own Brooklyn. If you wish to use a subway map in your own project, you should consider licensing the official MTA map, or try New York City Subway Route Map by SPUI, which is in the public domain. Additionally, if you are having trouble seeing the map below (perhaps because you have disabled JavaScript in your browser), Click Here.



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