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Frequent transit service maps: a suggested map from David M

[1]

A frequent transit map drawn by David M. Click for a larger version!

Inspired by from Jarrett Walker’s two [2] discussions [3] last week, David M put together his own attempt at a frequent transit network map. Here’s what he wrote about it:

Okay, so Jarrett inspired me to work on developing a revised transit map for Vancouver. Of course I haven’t mapped the entire region, but I did a sample around Richmond and the airport.

Going in, I decided I wanted to use line width to denote service frequency expectations and I settled on three categories – Frequent, Standard and Limited (sort of like freeway, main road and side street). Then I decided to use colour to denote how long the services operate (5am to 3:30am, 6am to 11pm or later, 6am to 6pm, peak hours and night only). Of course, no route really fits these exactly, but it is a guide as to what you can generally expect.

The darker blue and the fatter the line, you know you’ll get a bus most times of the day and generally won’t have to wait too long. The thinner the line, the chances are you’ll need to check the schedule to make sure the bus runs when you want to travel.

I’ve also included express buses using dashed lines, or where the express is operating on a route covered by a local, using express bus stop symbols that denote whether the express is Frequent or Standard. The express stops are colour coded the same as the lines to give you an idea of when they run. A big fat square express stop means you can just show up and know you’ll get a bus without much of a wait; a diamond express stop means you might want to check the schedule. A symbol could be developed for limited express services too (such as peak hours only).

Anyway – I know there’s a lot of work on colour selection and line thickness and I’m sure this can be improved. I haven’t included all the detail, such as station names and I’ve only shown the Skytrain in one colour, but using the line thickness clue same as the buses. Using this, I would probably show SeaBus as “Standard Service” in light-blue and West Coast Express as “Limited Service” in a narrow dashed red line (as it is peak only and in one direction only).

If you feel it’s worth it, please share with your readers, I’m interested in feedback via the blog, but I have no plans to make any changes or expand it. I just wanted to see what it could look like. Somebody else can if they want and I’ll gladly send them the svg file.

David’s sent over the SVG file, so if you want it, feel free to drop me a note! You can also check out this past post [4] for more on homegrown frequent transit maps of the Vancouver region.