The Washington DC transit agency WMATA has now released drafts of its new network map, which highlight the frequent network very dramatically with wide red lines:
Finally, it's possible to quickly see where the next bus is coming soon, rather than getting lost in a confusing tangle in which all routes look equally important. The map is by the excellent firm CHK America. Get the full story, with many more samples, at Greater Greater Washington, and remember, if you like these, don't take it for granted. Transit agencies need to hear positive feedback where it's deserved.
Metro’s own blog also has a post up explaining the draft changes, complete with some side by side comparisons to the old map:
L.A. Metro used to have a “12 Minute” Map that became the “15 Minute” map. Sadly, it turns into a “60 Minute Map” on nights and weekends ! These maps are a great way to see gaps in the current transit system. Transit advocates need to insist that the “Frequent Network” include nights and weekends !
“The big red lines generally correspond with the most frequent lines, but WMATA didn’t use a single frequency threshold to decide which ones qualify… WMATA primarily looked at the line’s ridership and its span of service, such as how many days per week the line runs and how many hours per day”
So this map doesn’t even come with any guarantees of how frequent the routes are, or how late they operate! The red lines seem to correspond merely to “vaguely decent service”. Given the big red lines make a bold statement about the usefulness of those routes, such guarantees are important.
What’s more, no guarantees whatsoever are made with regard to what other routes offer, even though it seems a matter of chance whether some reasonably frequent routes are judged to merit a thick red line or not.
I’ve said this here before, but if a single frequency standard fails to capture a large proportion of the network, then multiple standards are in order. In the case of DC, there are a few lines with really good service; about every 10 minutes, and a whole lot of lines that operate about every 20.
So a better map would show those as two distinct parts of a frequent network, emphasising the 10-minute elements. It would continue to de-emphasise lines that are less than every 20, on which a schedule is definitely needed.
Metro did a 15-minute frequent map (more as an analysis than a communication tool):
It’s also worth noting that this new map isn’t just a frequent network map, but a full redesign of the entire bus map.
I wonder why the 90 and 92 on that map don’t extend to link with Woodley Park Metro station?