This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Recently, Jarrett Walker’s blog criticized Seattle’s bus map as an example of poor information design (see here and here).  I’m not a big fan of the map either, but it’s worth pointing out that Seattle does have a more well-designed frequent transit map (above), which you can find on Metro’s website here.

The frequent transit map is not perfect — it basically just assures tourists that if they want to go to the Space Needle or Pioneer Square there’s a bus that will get them there and back.  Still, it’s a start.

One Reply to “Metro’s Frequent Service Map”

  1. City buses are useless to tourists. If one is determined enough to actually find the Metro website and find the page for “new riders,” you won’t get any specific information on routes. If one DOES find the map online, here’s what you get:

    “Tip: the maps are too large to print on most printers. If you need only a portion of the map, change the magnification until the section you want will fill a standard sheet of legal or letter paper. Use the snapshot tool in Adobe Reader to take a “picture” of the section. Paste the picture into a word processing or graphics/photo software. Then, you can print it and save it for future reference.”

    So for all intents and purposes this map is useless to a traveler. It’s not viewable directly on a mobile device. It’s confusing, and as noted in the links you cited, does not include enough information to allow one to determine which bus to take.

    Add in the fact that most metro buses are crowded and dirty, and the stops are notoriously unsafe, and one can see that no tourist in his/her right mind would rely upon the bus system to get around downtown.

    By contrast, the Monorail, Link, and the streetcar lines have few stops, simple routes, and are newbie-friendly.

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