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ant6n

It seems to me that the easiest way to deal with spans would be to simply add a second legend listing all lines with number, name and service span. Like
this, only more complex. Then one could reserve the line patterns (color, thickness etc.) to show all-day frequent lines or corridors.

((The more I look at this map, I find myself lucky that the Montreal stm simplified the system just as I made a map. So just picking the frequent service it was fairly straightforward to create an abstract and compact letter-sized representation.))

rhywun

I completely agree with Jarrett, and I was in fact a little taken aback when Aaron suggested one of the reasons his map was so complex was to teach the agency a lesson that the system is too complex! Talk about losing focus.

Zoltán

@ant6n

Yet they still can't quite bear to create a frequent Sherbrooke line, one of the most obvious possibilities of a simple Montreal bus network, by merging the 24 and 105, with a short diversion (about 500m) to serve Vendôme.

As for points on Décarie, the resources used to provide the frequent 24 could either provide a frequent shuttle from Vendôme to Villa Maria Metro, or more usefully could enhance frequency on the 17 running all the way via Décarie, with the 102 running all the way via Girouard.

Zoltán

Representing the span of service may not in itself be a bad thing, if you consolidate into sensible groups.

For example, for this map, you could have one symbol, the plain square. Then firstly, a category of buses that don't run into the evening (finishes about 6pm or about 7pm). Secondly, a category of buses that run into the evening (finish later than that - 10pm, 11pm or midnight), which would perhaps be underlined, given bold numbers, or have a thick black border. Finally, buses that run all night, which would already be formatted as buses that run into the evening, would be given a crescent moon symbol next to the number.

Alternatively, you could do as Kick Design's New York Subway map, and have a separate evening and late night map (http://i51.tinypic.com/34yoc39.png>day/ href=http://i52.tinypic.com/34yv6ls.png>night), which has the benefit of a de-cluttered view of services relevant to passengers travelling in the evening. In that case you could label buses all the same in the daytime map, and on the late evening map show all the buses running into the evening, with the underlining/bold numbers/border etc. for buses running until midnight, and that crescent moon symbol for those buses that run all night.

Pete (UK)

When I looked at this map I was immediately put off by the complexity of all the sybols used to represent service variations to the extent that I just couldn't take it all in - a case of 'too much information'. For an Agency's websie map you could use more interactive features to show the detail where it is relevant. Here is an example of clarity - Tahesdown Transport's map in the town of Swindon, England. There is an interactive route diagram. Click on a route and the service span (daytime, eveining, Sunday), frequency, and termini are displayed in a box. Click on the box to go to the timetable.

http://www.thamesdown-transport.co.uk/index.asp?m=205&t=Where+do+we+go%3F

For more detail a PDF showing the routes on a street map, with all bus stops indicated is also available, listed under 'Other Maps'

Pete (UK)

I'm going to type that again, a combination of mild keyboard dyslexia I'm afraid!

When I looked at this map I was immediately put off by the complexity of all the symbols used to represent service variations to the extent that I just couldn't take it all in - a case of 'too much information'. For an Agency's website map you could use more interactive features to show the detail where it is relevant. Here is an example of clarity - Thamesdown Transport's map in the town of Swindon, England. There is an interactive route diagram. Click on a route and the service span (daytime, evening, Sunday), frequency, and termini are displayed in a box. Click on the box to go to the timetable.

http://www.thamesdown-transport.co.uk/index.asp?m=205&t=Where+do+we+go%3F

For more detail a PDF showing the routes on a street map, with all bus stops indicated is also available, listed under 'Other Maps'

Eric Doherty

I think that in most networks there are only a few places where such a map would be very useful. I would like to have one for the downtown core of Vancouver BC, but it would not add that much for most of the network.

You really need lots of maps, I have missed connections because I could not find the bus stop at a 'bus loop' where the loop and surrounding streets are full of different stops. Bay 11 is off on a side street because there are only 8 bays in the loop. And when I get off at a station, I really want a map that shows every street and but line in the immediate area.

But the frequent service network should be the map you see most often.

ant6n

@Eric
Bus loops at the end of liens are really annoying, especially the large ones. At these, an abstract/compact map will diverge from reality, because it's hard to represent them. This also means that users will find them hard to understand as well. And they make for a bad network, because lines will not meet each other at some defined intersection.

I understand the need to get buses to turn around at the end of a line, but couldn't that happen outside of the line, just after the terminal stop? Would that take too many resources?

Zef Wagner

Transit agencies need to get over the idea that they should have one single comprehensive transit map. People are accustomed to using different maps for different purposes--a highway map is different from a city road map, for example. Transit agencies should focus on creating maps for target customers. The frequent network map would cater to people who use transit often in their daily lives, the peak-only map would cater to transit commuters, and the late-night map would cater to that minority who would find it useful. For local service it would be more useful to have neighborhood transit maps, showing local and frequent service for a particular area. What's great about these various maps is that you can easily combine them online in the form of layers to be turned on and off.

rhywun

I'm not so sure how keen I am on the idea of multiple maps... Even with the "frequent map" which has been such a popular topic lately, I think I would actually prefer high frequency to be indicated on the MAIN map rather than on a separate map, if it's done well. That might be my own bias though, because I like to stare at a map to see all the possibilities of where I CAN go, not just where there are (say) high-frequency or night routes. As long as I can easily discern WHICH routes are high-frequency, I'd rather see all routes at once.

Paul K. McGregor

I agree that the complexity of the map does mask the simplisty of the system. I also agree that showing frequency is more important than span of service except for those peak/off peak service. When I used the map, I didn't even pay attention to those bubbles because of the complexity and also in part because it was information that I never really paid attention to.

One thing I would add is that the Rapid routes are not really called out clearly to distinguish them from the other local routes that run in the same corridor. So you really can't tell where the Rapid route operate.

We seem to be having a lot of discussion about this topic but when it's all said and done, it is really what the customer would want on the map, not what the planners or map makers or transit geeks think it should be. I was wondering if anyone out there has really done any kind focus groups or market research to find out what kinds of things are important to customers to show on a map?

Zef Wagner

Rhywun, you do have a point. I think multiple maps would work fine for most people, but a comprehensive map could work as long as rapid and frequent routes are most prominent.

I like the scheme mentioned on this blog before where locals are narrow lines, frequent routes are thick lines, and express routes are dashed. Rapid routes would have to be delineated some other way.

We should think about the use of color, as well. I find the dizzying array of colors on most transit maps to be confusing because they don't mean anything. They just make the system look more complex. I would say use colors only on the major rapid routes, like subway lines in NYC, then make bus lines all the same color, but vary the thickness as mentioned above. Also, people, please be sensitive to the 10% of male population who have some degree of red-green colorblindness. Don't put red and green close to one another, and add some blue tint to one of them to set them apart.

francis

Good point on the colorblindness - in the earlier post it was mentioned that AC Transit used color LED signs to display route numbers (hence the rainbow of colors on the map) but couldn't use red since the police felt it could be confused for a taillight. But no restriction was made for green!

Wai Yip Tung

This is a one size fit all problem. You want one system map that show all the lines. You want it to reflect the complexity of the system. You want it to be useful as a street map. You want it to be user friendly. And you want to print all these on a single sheet of paper.

Luckily we are living in a new era when maps can be generated on demand online. Many people are comfortable to check online maps and use it to find driving or transit direction. Also these days the route and time table are often published in machine readable GTFS format. This make it easy for professional outside of the official agency to make their own map, like the kick map of New York.

Even though it is not practical to use a computer all the time, and mobile phone is still has a lot of limitation, I see electronic map to be a big part of the future. One size fit all paper map is not going to be too helpful for people to navigate the system.

ajedrez

Here in NYC, I think we have a fairly good system for showing the system. For example, here is the Queens Bus Map:
http://mta.info/nyct/maps/busqns.pdf - It makes no references to frequency-though it does show weekday-only services.
On the back, there is a legend that shows the operating hours and frequnies of the routes at different times:
http://mta.info/nyct/maps/busqns2.pdf

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