Mapping a bus system is certainly a unique challenge, but it can probably be done better than this. Check out what reader Jeff Hammerquist sent in:

Transit map concept asfd
Bus map and stop schedule concepts

41 Replies to “Re-Thinking Metro’s Maps”

  1. Really easy to read! I bet it would save the 41 from having to answer all those “Do you go to the U-district?” questions. Also, the 41 terminates at Lake-City.

    1. And like the 41, that’s why I think the Monorail should be shown on this map (it connects via elevators at Westlake) so that tourists don’t think it goes to the Airport!

      Or Spokane or Walla Walla like the ferries do! ;-)

  2. Love it, it’s so colorful and I like how he did the service frequency chart.

    I had a couple sketches of transit tunnel services maps. I should send them in.

      1. Yeah that is a really nice map Oran, its a nice balance between London tube style abstraction and specific local stop information. Just out of curiosity, why did you choose to list the route’s street first in bold instead of the cross streets? (ex. 15th Ave E / E Highland Drive) Wouldn’t it be more intuitive the other way around?

      2. Jeff, it is obviously repetitive in the 1.5 mile area where every stop is shown, however outside that area only major stops are shown. To make up for the abstraction I show the route’s street in bold so there is no doubt for someone who knows nothing about those routes.

  3. This is so much better than the official maps. What can we do to get Metro to commit to publishing this map officially and provide maps at stops? Failing that, what can we do to legally post these around town where they might do some good? Maybe with a small ad in the white space the cost could be defrayed.

    1. If you make one that they really like and want, they might use it.

      Sound Transit used my ST2 2023 map to develop a similar version that they use to represent the Sound Transit rail system at open houses and in publications (2009 milestones, 2009 annual report to WSDOT). We’ll see whether they use it in rider information.

      You might be able to get away with posting these in your business or community boards or near but not at bus stops. I’ve seen the stickers at some bus stops but those are small.

  4. Hey Jeff, sorry I didn’t have time to comment before – the 245 might be a good addition between Overlake and Eastgate, as it offers regular service there.

    I really like this map. I think it’s difficult to determine what routes should and shouldn’t be on a map like this, but we definitely need a regional connections map like this.

  5. I don’t know what it would be, but there should be more separation between the 174/194. Right now it looks like the 194 would make local stops between SODO and FW.

    The only other suggestion I could offer would be to use less shades of blue. The 5% of us with deuteranopia (color blindness) can’t tell much difference between the blues and purples, other than their shade.

    1. Wow, I would never have thought of the color blindness thing, but of course its really important that the map is as easy to read as possible. Good point about the 194, I’m not sure how I would show that without it getting messy. I’ll work on it.

  6. Many of the routes like 74, 212, 217 only run during peak hours. Maybe there should be an indicator of that so people won’t think they can ride those routes midday, even if they are directed to see the schedules.

  7. Awesome map. Only problem: it’s spelled Wedgwood, no e. Half the time they even spell it wrong on city maps and it makes me crazy.

  8. Can the 174 and the 194 be differentiated in some manner to show that one runs via I-5 and the other goes on the local road (SR99)?

    Also please put the 99 Benson Waterfront Streetcar on this map so that Seattle can have its own version of Boston’s A-Watertown and E-Arborway, lines that are “temporarily supended”. It might shame Metro and the city (and SAM) into getting those magnificent W2’s out in service again!

    1. Erik,

      There’s no point in getting in the details; there are lots of errors and many of these routes are going to change anyway in the September (post-link) service change.

      Visually, though, it’s beautiful and easy-to-use.

  9. Whoever wrote this is forgetting:

    After about 7 PM (and before 6 AM) on weekdays, Routes 71, 72 and 73 are locals which travel via Fairview and Eastlake between the U District and Downtown rather than I-5, in other words, they ARE NOT full-time express routes. This is why I am anxious for the DSTT hours to expand—as it is, there are few local 70-series trips running through the tunnel. He might want to add Eastlake and Havard and Fairview and Denny to his map to take this into account.

    1. Yeah its pretty full of mistakes, if you look too closely you will notice there is no Convention Center stop. To be really useful (and not just a mockup to demonstrate a concept) it would need quite a few corrections. I designed it to be part of a sort of re-branding scheme for metro and ST that would treat the Link and regional routes as one system and emphasize connections between the routes possible in the DSTT.

      I also mocked up an in-bus route leaflet and a bus board advertisement which you can see on my Flikr account.

      As far as the DSTT, I’ve heard (on this very blog I believe) that its going to be open late as soon as Link service starts, which I assume metro will take advantage of by changing some routes.

      1. I’m really loving this map and I hope we can push Metro (and Sound Transit)toward this way of showing route and system information.

        Here’s a few more errors I noticed:
        – 212,217,225,229 do not stop at Mercer Island
        – 101,150 do not stop at Othello or Rainier Beach
        – 106 does not stop at South Renton P&R

      2. The advertisement is absolutely awesome. So is the implied single unified transit agency for the region. ;)

        Despite all the love for London-style maps though, I have to say I still really prefer DC’s style and wish that were the standard.

    1. This is true, but too bad, since it is faster than the Link will be…

      1. True (the 194 was great non-stop to/from Seattle which is something that will never happen with Link)

      2. … except for the 5-minute loading times at each end. Link will probably load in 30 seconds or less.

  10. absolutely beautiful!!! So much easier to use…I pray ST and Metro will adopt something similarly sleek and modern!!!!

  11. My first reaction is that it may be great to use just for tunnel bus routes, but the problem is that you have to omit most of Metro’s lines to make the map this clean and readable (e.g. all the Capitol Hill lines). Also, scale is more important with bus than rail lines. And as we learned in DC, it’s important that bus maps show the routes in the context of city streets. I like Paris’ great color-coded bus system map.

    For showing headways, I definitely like this general concept. I’d have more tiers though. A lot of people in this region seem to think that a bus every 15 minutes is frequent service–as much as you can reasonably ask for. I find 15 minutes on Broadway and many other busy places really inadequate. Montreal’s bus stops list the times each bus arrives until they come every 6 minutes or fewer. DC has routes that run every 3 minutes during rush hour (42/43), and even then they still list the exact time each bus is supposed to arrive. Sit on Columbia Rd. NW or Mt. Pleasant St. NW and it’s remarkable to watch the parade of buses–they clearly dominate the traffic, and that’s the kind of bus service for which you truly don’t need a schedule. Every 10 minutes, as Rapid Ride anticipates, hardly qualifies.

    Somewhat related, I emailed Metro recently and suggested they shade their paper schedules to indicate the Free Ride zone just like they do on the schedule side to note which runs are peak fare.

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