Science-- there's something for everyone

Friday, November 29, 2013

Just for fun: Subway maps!

Have you ever considered the subway map? It needs to give information about stops and transfer points so clearly that even someone as directionally challenged as myself can figure it out. This is typically done with a little creative license about the actual geography of the location serviced. And it doesn't hurt if the result is a work of art. 

Recently, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) held a contest to redesign their current subway map:




And this was the contest winner:
 
It's based on the gold standard of subway map beauty and functionality, the Vignelli New York City subway map of the 1970's:


Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 NYC subway map uses geographic distortions to accommodate subway lines
Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 NYC subway map uses geographic distortions to accommodate subway lines


You can read more about the science that goes into subway map design here and here.