An eye pleasing NY/NJ rail map.
December 12, 2013 7:06 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by the Massimo Vignelli NYC subway map and the upcoming Super Bowl at the Meadowlands, NJ Transit unveils a new Regional Transit Diagram (pdf) to help people take public transit between New York and New Jersey.

The map was designed by Vignelli Associates, and includes New Jersey Transit rail, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, the New York City Subway, PATH, Newark Light Rail, Long Island Railroad, and Amtrak lines.

NJT's Superbowl page

Massimo Vignelli previously on Metafilter.
posted by fings (28 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great. Now the secret is out. New Yorkers aren't supposed to know how to get to New Jersey and back.
posted by monospace at 7:19 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


No you can get there and back, but NJTransit conspires to trap you in a land of wind and ghosts.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 PM on December 12, 2013


No you can get there and back, but NJTransit conspires to trap you in a land of wind and ghosts.

And Chris Christie's trying to ram through budget cuts that would reduce it to a land of light breezes and two guys in bad zombie makeup.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:36 PM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Service is so bad! Let's cut funding and see if it improves!"
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 PM on December 12, 2013


I went in here hoping to like this but I do not.

I love NJ Transit. It has been a lifeline, a link, a reliable support. It deserves better.
posted by Miko at 8:03 PM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Your move, San Francisco. Your whole metropolitan area is in one state. What's your excuse for being unable to put all of your transit services on one map?
posted by schmod at 8:11 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why the MTA keeps trying to revive the Vignelli map for alternate maps.
  1. They ditched it in the first place for a reason.
  2. Having to switch between two completely different styles of maps for daily and weekend or special event use makes it more difficult to think about things and compare.

posted by grouse at 8:24 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Beautiful, but wow would they solve a lot of confused traveler problems if they just stopped having two stops on the Newark-to-Manhattan like BOTH NAMED PENN STATION.

Seriously, can't we do rock/paper/scissors to see which one gets to keep "Penn Station" and be done with it? Every time I fly into Newark and take LIRR into the city, I almost get tripped up by the wrong Penn Station stop.
posted by mathowie at 8:25 PM on December 12, 2013


Look, if we didn't have a few new people walk into Newark Penn Station by accident we could never republish the population, simple as that.
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 PM on December 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Eye pleasing != understandable or easy to use

Just so you know, the hallmark of an industrial designer is that they've designed a beautiful and elegant chair that would deform your spine and paralyze your legs.
posted by Napierzaza at 8:58 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eye pleasing != understandable or easy to use

I don't have an opinion on the OP, but I would like to tattoo this sentence on a few design people I know.
posted by threeants at 9:53 PM on December 12, 2013


Personally, while I do value usability, I feel that many transit maps possess intangible psychogeographic heritage that should be taken seriously. These maps, in my opinion, are like iconic buildings or urban spaces-- not categorically inviolable, but only to be modified or replaced with judgment, respect, care, and purpose.
posted by threeants at 10:01 PM on December 12, 2013


Argh. This differentiates NJ Transit lines from Metro lines by... having the NJ Transit lines be rendered in almost indistinguishably more muted rainbow colors. For anyone not familiar with the area: NJ Transit and the NYC Metro are two entirely different services requiring two entirely different subway cards which are not interchangeable. This map would be more useful if the fact "hey, this transfer costs several dollars in either direction and also requires a completely different card which may or may not even be available for purchase at this station" were made even slightly explicit. JUST SAYING.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:40 PM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


As someone who lived in various places along NJT, PATH, HBLR, and the MTA, seeing them finally all hanging out on the same map scratches an itch I wasn't even aware of. Yeah, transfer points could be a little more explicit, but I actually think it does a good job conveying the connectivity of the various systems.

For instance, you can see using this map that if you're coming from the Northeast Corridor and want to go to lower Manhattan, you might want to get off at Newark and take the PATH the rest of the way rather than going out to Secaucus, overshooting, then having to take a train downtown. That's not so obvious from any of the separate maps.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:16 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Second Avenue Sagas, a transit advocacy blog, writes:
Shortly after the NJ Transit spur to the Meadowlands opened, I attempted to take the train to a Springsteen concert. Heading there, I had no problems, but on the way home, the trip was a veritable disaster. Crowds surged against barriers; trains came and went; and what should have been a 30-minute trip took two hours.

Since my first attempt at taking the train to what was then Giant Stadium, I haven’t done so since. I’ve seen a few football games and another concert, and each time, I’ve driven.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:53 AM on December 13, 2013


I post this map of New Jersey occasionally on the Blue. But since we are talking maps, and New Jersey, I think it deserves to be brought out again. It is certainly not as graphically pleasing as the Transit Map. Nonetheless, it accurately conveys some important information for all the Super Bowl watchers that are coming to visit the Garden State in February.

NJ Map - Lawyers Diving Hybrids

For extra credit, it has been decided that the worst possible Super Bowl match-up for New Yorkers and Jersyians (ites?) would be the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Thousands of Patriot and Eagle fans converging on NYC at the same time is too much of a nightmare to think of.
posted by otto42 at 5:26 AM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Argh. This differentiates NJ Transit lines from Metro lines by... having the NJ Transit lines be rendered in almost indistinguishably more muted rainbow colors. For anyone not familiar with the area: NJ Transit and the NYC Metro are two entirely different services requiring two entirely different subway cards which are not interchangeable. This map would be more useful if the fact "hey, this transfer costs several dollars in either direction and also requires a completely different card which may or may not even be available for purchase at this station" were made even slightly explicit. JUST SAYING.

So what is NJT supposed to do? Use the wrong colors for its own lines and PATH? And there aren't really transfers between systems; Amtrak, PATH, NJT rail, the HBLR, Newark Light Rail, Amtrak, LIRR, the two AirTrains, and the NYC subway each have pretty much completely independent fare systems. There is no way they could list all the fares possible between the stations visible on that map without needing another sheet as big as the map, not even taking monthly passes into consideration.

"Metro?"
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:58 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Beautiful, but wow would they solve a lot of confused traveler problems if they just stopped having two stops on the Newark-to-Manhattan like BOTH NAMED PENN STATION.

It never occurred to me that this could be confusing. One is Newark Penn Station and one is New York Penn Station. Both named after the Pennsylvania Railroad, for which they were terminals. I don't think you could get either community to give it up. Or if you did, it would be to sell it to a corporate sponsor. Newark Red Bull Station? Newark PNCBank Station? Hasn't got the same ring.
posted by Miko at 6:07 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I live this map and had a hard time deciphering it.
posted by whuppy at 6:57 AM on December 13, 2013


One is Newark Penn Station and one is New York Penn Station.

Yes, but when said by a train conductor in the local accent, the difference is "Nerk Penn Station" vs "N'yerk Penn Station", which can be confusing to non-locals.
posted by fings at 7:22 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meh. Why mix design nostalgia with a very real and pressing need for clear public transportation information? Also, the LIRR gets one measly pea-colored strip, labled, "to JFK." Strong Island, represent.
posted by ericbop at 7:32 AM on December 13, 2013


I don't see this as design nostalgia. I see it as a better map.

The official subway map is a tradeoff between readability and geographic accuracy. While the map's initial incarnations were somewhat geographically-accurate, I like to argue that the current map satisfies neither requirement. (Heck, the MTA's map doesn't really even attempt to explain how you're supposed to get to LaGuardia. It's kind of embarrassing that the New Jersey map does a vastly better job explaining how to get to New York's airports...)

NJT's official maps use the diagrammatic style reflected in this map, so it's not really "design nostalgia," given that it's an accurate reflection of the design language currently in use in all of the agency's other rapid transit maps.

You'll probably notice that NJT's map gets pretty crowded around NYC. This map is a rather nice complement to the larger statewide map.

That being said, the map is not without its flaws. I don't think that Amtrak actually stops at Secaucus (or EWR), and PATH definitely stops at Hoboken. The LIRR definitely should be on the map (especially the line to JFK). The Gladstone Branch didn't need its own line on the map, and the two NJT light rail lines are kind of confusing.

*I do miss the midnight-blue maps that NJT used to use. Those were probably the slickest-looking transit maps that I've ever seen.
posted by schmod at 7:51 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


IIRC, the original vignelli map didn't have the color scheme the NYC subway currently has. It was muted-rainbow-color-smash. With our now well-known color coded system, I think the map's much better (in NYC at least).
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 7:57 AM on December 13, 2013


schmod, some Amtrak trains do stop at EWR, but they don't stop at Secaucus, as far as I know.; good catch. There are dots for PATH at Hoboken.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:25 AM on December 13, 2013


A little Hudson Bergen Light Rail nostalgia. When some of the first routes opened, the operating company was paid a bonus for on-time-performance. The operating company eventually got in a lot of trouble for not picking up passengers since it was apparently pretty tough to both be on time, and pick up passengers.
posted by otto42 at 9:02 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like the map, though on the NJT end it's only useful if you already know what line you're taking, since there's not much guidance about where they go. I mean, sure, I'm aware I ride the Raritan Valley line and am sufficiently familiar with it to know that it always leaves from Track 5, but I still have no clue where High Bridge is, nor do I care. Is that even a real place?
posted by asperity at 1:39 PM on December 13, 2013


Maps of New York: they can go south and include New Jersey but include Manhattan north of 86th St? NEVAH!
posted by sciencegeek at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2013


Yes, maps that were designed to help people get to the Super Bowl in New Jersey include New Jersey. Outrage!
posted by crashlanding at 2:53 PM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


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