Bravo to Seattle's King County Metro for their new system maps, which finally reveal their Frequent Network. All can be viewed and downloaded here.
The wide blue line is light rail and the red lines are the new Rapid Bus product (both frequent and relatively fast). The rest of the bus network is clearly presented in ways that advertise its frequency and span, so that (a) the Frequent Network jumps out at you and (b) services that run only at rush hour recede from attention so that you can clearly see the network that runs all day. They do this by using black (numbers and lines ) for the Frequent Network, then solid blue for the other all-day service, then paler blue with blue-outlined white number bullets for the peak-only services.
Works for me. What do you think? If your transit agency hasn't figured out Frequent Network mapping yet, show them this map, and tell them to read Chapter 7 of my book, or this!
While this map is leagues better than what we used to have, it’s more than a bit amusing to see RapidRide be given such prominence. On the map, it stands out even more than the light rail. However, the light rail runs every 10 minutes all day, is fully grade-separated, and generally offers a very high quality of service. There are a number of buses which offer similar frequency, including the 3/4 (to Harborview), 7, and 36, but *not* including RapidRide. But from looking at the map, you wouldn’t know it.
Oran Viriyincy has been working on creating Seattle frequent transit maps for quite a while, as a hobby project and/or part of his graduate study. Here’s his latest work:
I think this map is quite a bit better than the ones Metro puts out. Most notably, it’s clear from the map that Link is the highest-quality service on offer. But also, I think that it’s much easier to see the frequent corridors on Oran’s map — whereas in the official ones, the frequent routes are barely more visible than the infrequent ones.
I wish my local provider would do something like this. Right now, it’s like not one of their customers even gets the idea that a map would be a good thing.
As a result, when people are entering an area that they are not familiar with, they don’t have anything they can use to guide them. They are left wondering where the route will take them exactly, where the stops will be, etc. Of course, as a result people do a lot of talking to each other in order to get the information they want.
It seems too subtle to me. I had to look at the map several times to even find the light rail (thinking “blue? what blue?”), and the RapidRide seems out of proportion, while the regular “frequent” black and “all-day” dark blue are too similar to each other.
RapidRide is neither frequent nor “relatively fast”, and with no published schedule and no data feeding to real-time apps, many in its target service areas avoid it like the plague outside of rush hour.
“Don’t believe the hype.”
Oran Viriyincy’s maps are an almost perfect example of modified geography clearly describing a city and its bus network clearly and without excessive detail.
Had King County Metro been less oblivious of citizen advocacy around it, then the answer to its inadequate maps would have been clear: Hire Oran Viriyincy (should he choose to accept) to make a map just like his present one, but with some thinner lines added to show the less frequent service too.
“no published schedule”
This is a dealbreaker for me and any public transit that claims to be fast and frequent, but won’t tell me exactly (or as exactly as journey time variations make possible) when I need to be waiting for a bus in order to get where I’m going, probably for a given time.
Don’t tell me every 15 minutes, tell me if it’s about 00, 15, 30, 45; about 05, 20, 35, 50, or whatever else. And please, tell me about how long the ride takes.
This is precisely why, when I need to take a given train out of Manchester Piccadilly, I take a slower bus with a published schedule rather than a tram which is “every 12 minutes”. Because it doesn’t even show when that headway service begins (only the first tram, followed by different early morning and morning peak headways), I can’t even infer what minutes past the hour that means. I understand that Rapid Ride is in exactly the same boat.