Metro released the first draft of a new rail map over the weekend. A new map is necessary because of the upcoming Tysons/Dulles line, and simply because so many little things have changed in recent years that the old map is no longer adequate.
The new draft map was designed by Lance Wyman, the same artist who designed the original map decades ago. It incorporates several subtle changes, including modified icons, new dashed and dotted lines showing variations in Metro’s service patterns and simplified station names.
The map is a great step forward in terms of graphically illustrating how Metro actually functions, but it is still clearly a work in progress.
One problem is that with so many new features, the map feels a little disorderly. For example, there are three different types of dashed lines. The effect is a map that lacks cohesiveness and seems spliced together.
This first draft also takes a pass on solving the issue of the Tysons/Dulles line. Future drafts will have to consider what that line will be called and how it will be shown on the map. Planners have been calling it the Silver Line, but Wyman is pushing for pink, and Metro seems to be leaning toward making it a second tail of the Orange Line.
Silver would probably be the easiest to understand, since that’s what the media has been calling the line for years. Orange would make sense from a graphic perspective, but might be confusing to riders. I’m not sure there are any benefits to pink, except that it’s a pretty color.
Overall, Wyman’s effort is a good first draft, but it’s clear that much work remains.
You can help Metro iron out the details by taking a survey about the new map.
Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at BeyondDC.com. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.