A classic that has lost its way

To all those who are following a link to my redesigned tube map, please click one more time to see the original post and more on the London Tube Map. The comments below apply to the map shown on that page.

Apologies for the diversion!

  1. Stuart said:

    Your simplyfying of your version has introduced a couple of mistakes, particually on the overground lines – you can’t travel direct from Willesden Junction to Barking and Clapham to Gospel Oak, they are seperate lines. The same with Earls Court, the reason it looks so complicated to recent maps is because you can’t travel Hammersmith to Edgware Road for example

  2. Rich said:

    Fantastic, a great re-working. Hope Tfl take your ideas on board. Your version is much clearer. Couple of minor niggles tho, Canary Wharf needs to have the linked interchange loops, whilst Brixton doesn’t need one at all.

  3. Alex said:

    Thanks for that. The reason why the stations aren’t linked at Canary Wharf is that the two stations aren’t physically connected; there is a short above ground walk between them, the Jubilee station is closer to the DLR’s Heron Quays station than Canary Wharf. See http://streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=537615&y=180137&z=1 You’re right about Brixton though!

  4. Pedro said:

    What program did you use to make this map?


  5. Keep up the good work. Too many people out there praise the current official map without thinking about it carefully. How does using “Beck’s Rules” clarify a map for a user, and does the current official map provide us with the best possible implementation? Of course, a third-rate just-good-enough map might be adequate for day to day use (and cheap), but then we should stop calling it a design icon.

    My latest project, ‘Cranky Map’, is intended to show just how nasty a map that follows ‘Beck’s Rules’ to the letter can look. Its designed to stop people from assuming that a ‘Beck Rules’ map is automatically good. Excellent design is not about blindly following rules, its about clever execution within the constraints of a set of rules, and having clear and sound design priorities. These are conspicuously missing from the current official design. Let me have an email address if you want a copy.

  6. Mike said:

    Like the link you show between Bowes Park and Bounds Green!

  7. internetmsuicprogramme said:

    This is a very interesting appraisal of the Tube map, I note that you have avoided some of the constraints which TfL works within (understandably) particularly with regards to accessibility. Working in the field myself i’m very aware of the legal requirements for accesibility (and what a pain they can be!) but to remove all traces of wheelchair accessibility instantly clears your map up. Also your comments about colour copies and b/w white prints could be countered with complaints from those with various types of colour blindness.

    Having said that I do think that your map has a lot of merits: the Waterloo and City line is much clearer, as is the straightened Northern Line.

    The reality is that the tube map is now outmoded, the network has grown too big. Beck’s original concept was so successful as it answered the problem at the point in history when it was required. It is an interesteding question to ask if the Tube map would be remade today in the same way, who knows.

    A revised tube map today probably required more intelligence in the map itself, in the same way the Bus Spider maps work in London, something which is generated based on the location the map exists in. This of course requires a massive amount of intelligence and knowledge to be embedded into the whole thing, but certainly isn’t outside the realms of reality.

    Good work though! TfL are in need of a holistic reappraisal of the tube map, and this is just the kind of work to generate a useful debate around the subject.

  8. Duncan said:

    Your version of the map is very successful, far better than the monster TfL are growing. Hopefully someone from TfL sees it and takes it on board!

    My constructive criticism:

    Disabled access does need to be marked on somehow. I agree that TfL’s current strategy is ugly, perhaps a symbol next to the station name? Or the station name in black?

    Do the riverboat services need a symbol and have a blue border? I think just the symbol would suffice.

    Perhaps the map should be an online open source project!

  9. Too many people saying “disability access must be included”? Why? TfL already makes a comprehensive access map. maybe the wheelchair advocates will look at it sometime, then they will find out that the current state of play on the official TfL map is at best incomplete, at worst misleading.

    Official map only shows access to platforms, not interchanges. The symbols give only a fraction of the journeys possible.

    Symbols make no distinction concerning reliability. Some access arrangements depend on several lifts all being in action, others are technology free: just level walkways. Anyone with a choice should go for walkways because they never break down.

    No information about correct entrances. Want to get to Waterloo Jubilee, don’t go to the Shell Centre, you are 300m in the wrong place, you should have gone to Waterloo Road.

    Plus, with all the visual clutter, map is harder to use with poor eyesight, but I guess that Scope is better at political lobbying than RNIB.

  10. D N Bentley said:

    I think your rendering of Earls Court is fine. It doesn’t show a through service Hammersmith – Edgware Road. It clearly shows the correct service routing from Wimbledon. (I believe there are/were plans to run Ealing trains to Edgware Rd at some point.)
    Re the Interchange symbol at Brixton – why not? It does interchange with an overground line – ah but so does Richmond, Wimbledon etc Hmmm.
    One day a rail/boat interchange at Imperial Wharf/Chelsea Harbour might be possible.
    Finally how about a little aeroplane at London City Airport as at Heathrow?

    A very useful presentation and well executed. Thank you.

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