The official WMATA transit map (designed for clarity & legibility) vs. the actual geographical layout of the DC Metro
Metro_Compared (by Don Whiteside)
This map I made shows the accessibility of the Metro. Each circle has a 1/2 mile diameter and centered about the points of entry to Metro Stations - they represent a 5 minute walking distance (1/4 mile) to each station. Clearly, there are a lot of holes and “access deserts,” the largest of which includes the greater Capitol Hill neighborhood (which is one of DC’s oldest and most dense neighborhoods). Further, this is a map focused on the core of the historically planned city of Washington, the access deserts only get worse as you zoom out to the entirety of the District and includes areas of the city that are most economically and socially depressed.
There is also another layer of information here that is often overlooked in evaluating transit access. Not only do these gaps, holes, and deserts make the livability of a city suppressed for residents who live outside of access areas, but this lack of access also makes the knowing, understanding, and therefore ownership of a city much more difficult for all those who live there.
Thinkgeek has a “Wonderland Transit Map” t-shirt, although they do add the caveat that static maps would probably be useless in the amorphous Wonderland. It got me searching for t-shirts for fictional places that would be equally as useless for navigation.
Earlier this year, our map contest generated a few new ways of looking at the Metro map, but none were as creative as this spiral map.
Do you think you can design a better Metro map? We’re having a contest to see what a new Metro map could look like.
The traditional map has kept its basic form since 1976. Now, there are several reasons for a change. The Silver Line to Tysons Corner will open in 2014. But before that, the “Yellow and Orange Line service increase” will also force a map revision for 2012.
WMATA has retained the original map designer, Lance Wyman, to redesign the map. It’s unclear how close he’ll keep the new map to the original. But you don’t have to replicate the original. In fact, we encourage you to be as creative as you wish in designing a map
During December’s snowstorm, we wrote that the worst December storm since 1982 would (and did) create a Metro system with about the same number of stations as in 1982, as did this weekend’s storm.
Related to our last post: an infographic on DC’s late night Metro use created by Flickr user HerrVebah.