Unofficial Map: Boston Subway Time-Scale Map
Peter Dunn from Stonebrown Design sent this map to me this morning for my thoughts, and it’s definitely worth looking at. You may recall that Peter is also responsible for this neat “subway map” of the Appalachian Trail, previously featured on Transit Maps.
Visually, this map reminds me of this unofficial map of Amsterdam’s Metro - mainly because of the unusual radial design and the treatment of bodies of water. However, this map arguably puts that radial design to better use: to represent time from the central “hub” of Boston, allowing a quick and easy visual comparison of journey times.
Have we been there? Yes. However, Lechmere to Government Center took considerably longer than eight minutes when I was using the Green Line.
What we like: The treatment of the four downtown stations - Park, Government Center, State and Downtown Crossing - is beautifully done: it fits the “hub” theme well and looks good doing it.
Map emulates the look of the real Boston map nicely, even though the format is quite different.
Love the statement in the legend: “All times are approximate; your results may vary. Especially on the Green Line.”
What we don’t like: As the map moves further away from the central hub, the time contours start deforming in order to fit things in. This is a pity, because the map works best (and looks better) where the contour lines form proper concentric rings. Compare how the station labels on the Red Line out to Alewife curve neatly with the time contours, while the station labels on the “B” branch of the Green Line don’t really match up with the contours at all.
The contours themselves could perhaps use a few more of their own labels for minutes: you have to scan a long way round from the southern Orange Line to find one!
Our rating: Leaving aside accuracy of the data used to create this map (some of these times do seem a little on the optimistic side, but if that’s what the timetable says…), this is still a very impressive piece of work, and an interesting alternative view of a familiar rapid transit system. I feel the map could look even nicer if the time contours formed concentric rings all the way out - time is a constant, after all! Three-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Stonebrown Design)