It seems like a few times a year, some intrepid young designer takes a crack at redesigning the NYC subway map, whether by updating and tweaking Massimo Vignelli's classic 1972 design or going off-the-grid (so to speak) with full-concentric circles. But most of these maps are made for hardcore cartophiles rather than laypeople—but Tommi Moilanen says that's not so with his stab at a redesign: "The goal was to create a subway map that is beautiful to look at, easy to use and custom designed for New York City," 1978 John Tauranac redesign, with an emphasis on clearing out the clutter of the currently used map, and differentiating between express and local trains. It makes it even easier for people in a rush—or people who aren't familiar with the ins-and-outs of the city—to be able to visually absorb the information necessary. "Most people don't really want to read the map," Moilanen explained to us.
"Maybe they are in a hurry or uncomfortably trying to peek at the map through a crowd and want to get the information they need as quickly as possible," he continued. "Some of that information is actually more clearly available in the signs above tracks. People can use the map to check their route and which trains they need to take and they would probably use the map for that even knowing that it is not showing the night schedule. The map always stays the same and people are going to look at it throughout the day (and night) even if it is designed for some specific time."
This map also includes the PATH train, "since it really is a subway type rapid transit system connecting New Jersey to Manhattan. PATH also accepts Metro Card as does AirTrain JFK which is treated in a similar manner on the map." At least one NJ resident must be very happy about that.
Moilanen picked a very good time to unveil his design: this week, subway map aficionados convened at Cooper Union to discuss (and argue about) the evolution of the subway map, and where it could be improved in the future.