Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Live from D.C.

I'm with the rest of the world in Washington D.C. right now and will have proper updates once I'm back home. In the mean time, have a look at their gorgeous subway map. I can't find any info on who designed it or when it was created, but I can't stop staring at it every time I'm on the train and there aren't 100 people standing in front of it.

Click for larger view


Jeremy said...

ever since seeing animals on the underground I can't help but get lost in these transit maps looking for weird things. Probably makes me look autistic.

Ari said...

don't have a contact on this blog, thought i would post this here. my boy flipped the duane reed logo, thought you would like it:

see reference image here:

Anonymous said...

I made a works using the concept of the subways map. See it in

Victor Ware said...

Interesting thing to look at.I never really thought to look at the design of the map. I live in DC and I've always just took it for what is was.

Ryan said...

The WMATA map was first designed by Lance Wyman, and it was created in the early 1970s (that's as specific as I can find). The map follows a number of trends among schematic maps, most popularized by Harry Beck's London Underground maps. The WMATA map apparently utilized more vibrant colors than a lot of transit maps at the time. It was also a visual representation of the Federal-level political bargaining that was involved in Metro's creation - the only landmarks on it in the beginning were Federal landmarks (monuments, etc), and the park & ride lot icons (cars) were included as reassurance to the transit-weary Feds that Metro was, in fact, friendly to cars and suburban drivers.

The WMATA map has inspired other regional rail systems to follow design suit - if you look at the map for the Virginia Railway Express, you can see the influence. For awhile (though it looks as though this has changed), the Maryland MTA (operating Baltimore's Metro and light rail systems) used a similar map.

All of this information comes from "The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro" by Zachary M. Schrag, a great book I picked up at the National Building Museum on my last visit to DC (3 years ago). Another neat book is "Transit Maps of the WOrld," by Mark Ovenden - the book claims to be the "World's First Collection of Every Urban Train Map on Earth" and includes many historical maps for many world city rail networks.