san francisco: frequent network map refined

SF Cityscape has done a refinement of their excellent frequent network map for San Francisco, one that highlights the basic structure of the network that's useful for impatient people at all times of day.  You can download the full GIF and or PDF here.  A slice:

Sf cityscape map
The map is so cool that I feel liberated to nitpick.  Some other basic principles for maps of this type, worth considering:

  • Limited stop service (numbers with an L suffix in San Francisco) is substantially faster than local-stop, so I think it deserves its own color, possibly shading gradually to the local color when the limited segment ends, as 71L does west of Masonic.  A separate color would also clue in the viewer that those lines stop only at the points indicated, while locals stop at more stops.
  • To further clarify the previous point, I'd come up with a really tiny stop symbol to mark all stops on local-stop services — maybe labeling them in smaller print or not labeling them at all.  This would give a visual indication of frequency of stops that would give an accurate view of relative speed.  You really do not want to ride all the way across the city on Line 1, which stops every block or two.  Such a notation would help the limited stop services — which really are useful for going all the way across the city — stand out more effectively.
  • The mapmaker has followed the transit agency's practice of marking only wheelchair-accessible stops on the surface streetcars such as N.  In fact, these line stop every 2-3 blocks, so I would be inclined to mark all stops, maybe using a notation like that above.  I'd also advocate separate maps highlighting issues that matter to disabled persons.  (Has any transit authority published special maps or online map layers specifically for people in wheelchairs etc, as an alternative to including all this information on a main system map?)
  • I would also be inclined to emphasize that surface stops around a rapid transit station are indeed AT that station, so for example I would extend the Van Ness and Civic Center station bullets to encompass the adjacent bus stops rather than giving those stops separate coordinate names.  This is especially important on schematic maps because the user is wary that a small space on the map might be a large distance.

But again, I can nitpick usefully only because it's a really great map!

13 Responses to san francisco: frequent network map refined

  1. Anonymous November 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Don’t you think it’s too busy, with a lot of details in tiny print (maybe hard to read for a number of people)? It seems like it’s trying too hard to be comprehensive in its scope, but losing some quick glance ease in readability along the way.

  2. Daniel November 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    London Underground shows accessible stations on their main tube map, but also has other versions which emphasise features important to those who need step-free access.

  3. Carter R November 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Here’s a map of the New York subway system showing only ADA accessible stations.
    It’s not an official MTA map, however. It was made by a group called Just Urbanism.

  4. Carter R November 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I’ll just add too that it’s rather jarring to see how inaccessible New York’s subway lines are. There are actually more accessible stations in Los Angeles than NYC, for what that’s worth.

  5. 23skidoo November 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    I don’t think Caltrain should really be on there

  6. Joseph Alacchi November 5, 2011 at 4:48 am #

    @Carter R Well they’re better than Montreal which only has 7 accessible stations on one line.

  7. BBnet3000 November 5, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    The stops on Muni are so frequent, id say those lines ARE the stop markings for the local lines.
    Agreed about the accessibility of the NYC subway. Its my sincerest hope that within, say, 40 years they will have refurbished enough stations (adding accessibility each time) until they have made a real dent in accessibility issues. Age is an excuse for now, but that excuse wont last forever.
    The sad part is that its my honest opinion that a pedestrian oriented urban environment is the most convenient place for a disabled person to live (well, its also my opinion that its the most convenient place for anyone to live).
    The easier way to vastly increase accessibility in the near-term: More BRT (or SBS :\), more level boarding for buses of all sorts. Ramps are OK but level boarding is vastly preferred. At least within a decade or two they could have NYC disabled residents on a second class system rather than whatever they have now, which is definitely lacking.

  8. al November 5, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    @ Carter R
    That map is a bit outdated, perhaps by 5 years or more. There are at least 3 times as many ADA stations today.

  9. Beta Magellan November 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Has any city taken the opposite route, only labeling stations that aren’t accessible?

  10. TransitPlannerMunich November 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Munich has – of course – such maps for the subway (U-Bahn) and commuter rail (S-Bahn) network in the city and the region:
    Moreover, instead of just thinking about maps, all 100 subway/metro stations are simply equipped with elevators (160) and escalators (760).
    Also, in case you want to make sure that the elevators or escalators of your MVG-subway station are currently in operation you can check the status online by “MVG Zoom”:
    You click on the station an then you get a plan like that showing the status of every escalator and elevator of the chosen station – green means in operation, here an example:

  11. Kirk Hovenkotter November 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    TFL has this Step Free map of its system at
    It does a good job of highlighting the lines and connections you can make and even the hight of the gap between the train and platform.
    TFL has been doing a lot of accessibility work on their system for the Olympics, and hopefully it continues after 2012.

  12. Gil November 7, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    Here’s Toronto’s Accessible Transit Network map for the TTC:
    Accessible streetcars will be arriving by the end of the year and will go into service by 2013 filling in the last significant gap in network coverage. All subway station will be accessible by 2024 at a rate of about 3 stations per year.

  13. Andrew November 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Definitely all stops should be shown, with a wheelchair logo on the stops that are accessible. Able-bodied users generally do not care whether a station is accessible or not.