Oren’s Reading List: A Complete and Geographically Accurate NYC Subway Track Map

Back in February 2016, there was a Travelogue post about Andrew Lynch’s totally accurate but totally useless subway maps.  This week, I’ve seen another one of Andrew Lynch’s projects floating around the internet, and I think this one falls in to the same category.  This week’s hot topic is his complete and geographically accurate NYC subway track map.  A track map is a map that shows all the tracks of a given subway, including the switching tracks, non-revenue connections between lines, and so on.  The point of using this type of map isn’t so much to be able to navigate from point A to point B, but rather to understand how the subway system as a whole comes together, and in the case of a system as complex as New York’s, to see the myriad of routing options available for all the trains.

However, in my opinion, I think the value of a geographically accurate track map is limited.  As I’ve discussed here and there in other posts, there are certainly times where it is interesting to see how things are laid out geographically, as opposed to on the not-to-scale subway maps that are generally used for navigation by the public.  However, if the primary purpose of a track map is to show how all the individual tracks and platforms come together to form a single system, how necessary is it that everything be exactly to scale?  On the flip side, especially in the case of New York where the MTA’s map distorts geography and makes some lines that are quite close together appear much further apart, it is fascinating to see how the B, D, F, and M trains not only pass under the 4, 5, and 6 tracks within the Broadway-Lafayette Station, but also the N, Q, R, and W tracks, or how the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, and Q trains all operate under Flatbush Avenue for a distance in Brooklyn.

View this map on Andrew Lynch’s website by clicking here.  

Do you prefer having a scale track map, or does Andrew Lynch’s latest creation fall in to the accurate but useless category?  Leave a comment with your opinion!

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Oren’s Reading List: Stand Right and Stand Left?!?

I imagine many of the people who come to my site have strong opinions about escalator etiquette on public transportation.  In cities such as Washington or London, standing on the right side of the escalator and walking on the left is an ingrained habit.  But is it the fastest way for everyone to get to the bottom or top of the escalator?

Last year, Transport for London conducted an experiment at its Holborn Station where commuters were asked to stand on both sides of the escalator.  The result might surprise you.  When the escalators were at their busiest, they were able to carry more people per hour when everyone stood and no one walked on the left side.  This article from The Independent explains why that is the case.  Take a read and then feel free to offer your thoughts on the study in the comments below.  Is this the result you expected?  Do you prefer to walk or stand? 

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Oren’s Reading List: How London Tube Stations Got Their Names

If you’ve been to London, you may have noticed that some of the Tube stations have some, shall we call them, interesting names.  Examples include Cockfosters, East India, Marylebone, Oval, and Tooting Bec.  I’m sure someone has already compiled the origin of all these station names and posted them online somewhere (though I can say with some confidence that even I can figure out how a station like “Baker Street” gets its name), but the BBC recently posted an article highlighting ten stations and how got their names.  The ten stations are: 

  1. Covent Garden
  2. Elephant & Castle
  3. Cockfosters
  4. Tooting Bec
  5. Knightsbridge
  6. Maida Vale
  7. Aldgate
  8. Piccadilly Circus
  9. Queensway
  10. Shepherd’s Bush

You can read the article here.  

What is your favorite Tube station (or Tube Line) name?  Which station’s name origin do you wish you knew more about?  Share your responses in the comments below!

Oren’s Reading List: Six Myths About Traveling Cross Country by Amtrak

Airplane might be the fastest way to get from one coast of the United States to the other, but it hasn’t always been my mode of choice.  In 2007, I took Amtrak from Washington, DC to Seattle.  In 2014, I rode trains from Chicago to Los Angeles and from Denver to San Francisco.  Taking Amtrak’s long distance routes is a very unique way to see the country and one I enjoy when I have the time to do so.  It is certainly more pleasant than flying in a number of ways!  

At some point, I hope to write more about why I enjoy this experience so much, but in the meantime, here are six myths about traveling on a long-distance Amtrak train, courtesy of the Gothamist.  

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Oren’s Reading List: How the London Tube Lines Got Their Names

If you’ve been to Washington or Chicago, you know that subway lines are named for colors.  If you’ve been to New York City or Paris, you know that trains are referred to by a number of letter.  Around the entire world, identifying subway lines by color, number, or letter is common.  But in London, all the Tube lines have names.  Did you ever wonder where those names come from?  This article from Londonist reveals all.  While some names are portmanteaus of the destinations they serve (i.e. Bakerloo), others have more complex histories.  

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Oren’s Reading List: Perusing the New York City Transit Authority’s Lost & Found

Every transit agency has one, yet you probably never want to have an occasion to contact it.  What am I talking about?  The lost and found office.  That said, if you lose something on the subway in New York City, you have a pretty decent chance of getting it back; 60 percent of items that are turned in to the lost and found make it back to their owners.  And the MTA has very detailed categories for inventorying the items as they come in.  What are some of the things that are in the lost and found office waiting to be reunited with someone?  Although this infographic was published in 2014, I imagine it is still pretty similar today.  What is the strangest thing you see on that list?

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Oren’s Reading List: Transportation Gifts

The holiday shopping season is well underway.  If you’re reading this, odds are you wouldn’t mind receiving or are looking for ideas for transportation related gifts.  The Chicago Tribune recently compiled a list of CTA and METRA themed holiday gifts and links to where you can find those items for purchase.  Many other transit agencies, including New York City Transit and WMATA, also have online gift stores that you can peruse.  While a friend of mine has received three copies of Transit Maps (and doesn’t seem bothered by the fact based on my conversation about it with him), I hope some of these links are useful if you’re looking to make sure the person you are giving  Happy shopping!

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Oren’s Reading List: Riding Public Transit in Cairo After the Revolution

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about an attempt by Transport for Cairo (TfC) to map out all of Cairo’s transit services from its established Metro system to its informal microbus network.  I alluded to this a bit in that post, but riding the Metro in Cairo when I was there in 2009 was one of the easiest parts of my Egyptian tourist experience and probably was the most “western” activity I partook in while I was there.  There was no need to bargain about the fare or to pay baksheesh for “extras” while traveling.  Service was frequent and navigating the system was easy (though it only had two lines when I was there, so it isn’t that hard to find your train or keep track of how many stations until you reach your destination).  Apparently, that has changed a bit since the Egyptian Revolution, as the Metro was a way for the masses to get around during the overthrow of the government and the current government is looking to maintain its grip on power.  And while the Egyptian government continues to propose all sorts of new ideas for how to improve Cairo’s chaotic transportation network, simple steps could be taken that would deliver immediate improvements to a city with a population of 20 million where only about 11 percent of households have a car.  Interested in finding out more?  Read the article from CityLab here.

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Oren’s Reading List: Developing a Transit Map for Cairo

Prior to my 2009 trip to Cairo, someone mentioned to me that the city’s Metro was the most orderly institution in the entire city.  In a country where schedules, tourist information, prices, and just about anything else you might want to know while traveling there is unpredictable at best, the Cairo Metro operates a frequent, reliable service that connects to a number of major tourist attractions.  It is also among the cheapest Metro systems in the world, charging a flat, one way fare of 1 Egyptian Pound (equal to 0.11 USD at the time of this writing).  However, reliable and easy to use as it may be, navigating Cairo’s transportation network is not nearly that simple.

Enter Transport for Cairo (TfC).  This organization consisting of young Egyptians are looking to revolutionize the city’s chaotic transit system.  While a basic Metro map does exist, no tourist in their right mind would try getting anywhere using the city’s bus network or its informal network of microbuses.  After all, Cairenes are forced to navigate the system without any sort of maps or other official guidance from the agencies operating the system.  TfC is working to develop maps and other data sources for the city’s commuters to use to figure out how to get around the sprawling metropolis.  You can read about their work in this article from CityLab.

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

 

Oren’s Reading List: London Publishes Geographically Accurate Tube Map

Have you ever thought to yourself while riding a train that even though the subway map seems to suggest the stations are evenly spaced, they aren’t actually so in reality?  You’re right to notice this.  Subway maps have been drawn without using a scale for a long time.  The first example of such a map is Harry Beck’s London Underground Map form 1931.  Many of the principles that Beck used in designing this map are still not only used in London but in many other cities around the world.  However, people sometimes draw scale versions of various maps to show the differences between the official map and what a scaled map would look like.

Officially, Transport for London (TfL) has not put out a geographically accurate map since Harry Beck’s diagram became the official one in 1933.  However, following a freedom of information request in 2014. TfL released such a map for the first time in many years.  Read about the FOI process and see the map for yourself in this story from The Independent.

In upcoming posts, I plan to share some old maps that I recently inherited and added to my collection, the first of which will feature maps of the Underground.  Stay tuned…

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.