London's spider maps
Transport for London has these great bus maps that show routes traveling in all directions from major transit nodes.
These maps, known as "spider maps," are more abstract than the station-oriented bus maps Metro posts in stations and recently put online. They combine several useful features:
- A local area walking map, showing the location of the different bus stops keyed to a table of routes;
- A schematic route map for the bus, showing routing to other transit nodes in the area;
- A table of routes leaving from that node, either daytime or nighttime routes.
There are some challenges with this mapping method:
- You have to name the "dots". Could DC residents agree on what to call the many new places we'd have to represent as a dot on a map? Or would the dot names become conglomerations, like some Metro station names? Bus stops do have names today, typically the name of the cross street, so perhaps those could suffice.
- Our bus service seems more complicated. Some routes only travel certain times or have "turn-back" service. For example, there are some Metrobus routes that operate only two or three trips a day. Is it better or worse to put them on the map?
- Our buses are not as frequent as London's. This kind of map is most useful if the rider only has to worry about routing and not schedule. Once a rider has to worry about bus schedule and timetables, it's likely this won't be enough information. Perhaps the line widths could vary to convey frequency information.
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