Government Technology

Boston Launches Transit Map Competition



April 12, 2013 By

Beantown has a problem with its public transit map.

Though it was re-designed just last year, both the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the map's designer, Cameron Booth, are cognizant of its problems. Booth has even called the map “well-meaning, but seriously flawed.”

And as The Atlantic Cities pointed out, "the five-legged Green line is too cramped to fit all the station names. The Silver line looks like a subway line even though it's a bus rapid transit system. The key local bus lines are great to have, but one suspects they aren't terribly useful to anyone who doesn't already use them."

To remedy the situation, the city has invited its citizens to redesign Boston's subway and bus map. Entries to the map redesign competition will be accepted until the end of April.

Before the competition was announced, Booth published several redesigns of the city’s transit maps on his Flickr page, possibly giving MBTA the idea for the competition, according to The Atlantic Cities.

However, Booth said he has no intention of redesigning his maps to meet contest guidelines. “Eventually, I was going to get around to making a square version, but not now -- not now that I know the MBTA is looking for free ideas for their map," he said in his blog. "If the MBTA likes my ideas for their map — and they’ve surely seen enough of my body of work to know that it’s good — then they can bloody well pay me for it.”

Entries to the competition are permitted to be static or interactive maps. And while Booth may not be interested in the competition, there may a lesser-known designer out there who would be willing to work for free in exchange for the publicity that comes with winning a competition.

Boston transit map via MTBA


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