This week, Greater Greater Washington highlighted WMATA’s latest iteration of their new bus map (as post on the first iteration is here), which opts for a diagrammatic representation of the bus network, highlighting frequent, all-day bus services over infrequent and irregulat coverage bus routes.
The new map is a huge improvement of the old one. Digging through the archives, I found this post, with a screencap of roughly the same part of the city – just for the purposes of comparison.
The inspiration for posting about the shortcomings of the WMATA map back in 2010 came after reading Jarrett Walker’s blog. Walker emphasizes the value of frequency, and the importance of highlighting frequent services in an operator’s communications, such as maps. WMATA’s old maps made no such distinctions – in fact, the map highlighted rather useless distinctions, such as whether or not a bus crossed state lines.
The timing of Metro’s release of the new map was fortuitous. Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in Walker’s two-day transit network design course. The exercises in the course force participants to deal with the trade-offs between conflicting goals, limited budgets, constrained geography, and the fundamental geometry of efficient transit service.
(Jarrett has posted reviews of the DC course here – I would definitely recommend the course both for those working on transit/transportation, as well as anyone interested in how cities function)