MBTA Announces Winner of Map Redesign Competition

The new MBTA map will be phased in with some tweaks. 'Map 1,' the winning design, took home top honors with more than 6,000 votes.
MBTA Map

The New MBTA Map / Click to Enlarge

The riders have spoken, and the winner of the MBTA map redesign contest is a guy from Moscow.

After MBTA officials launched the  “New Perspectives MBTA Map Re-design competition” back in April, a competition where anyone could create and submit their own version of the system’s layout, more than 6,000 people picked what was referred to as “Map 1.” The T received more than 17,000 votes as passengers picked between the top six entries received by the transit agency.

The winning map was submitted by Mikheil Kvrivishvili, an interactive and graphic designer from Moscow, Russia, according to a statement from the MBTA.

The public can expect to start seeing new maps in stations as replacements are needed and as new stations open. The new maps will first be placed in the Orient Heights Blue Line station when it reopens early next year, and the new Assembly Square Orange Line station when it opens in late 2014, according to T officials.

Kvrivishvili’s map includes new features that provide customers with more information and more appealing aesthetics, including all surface Green Line stations shown, all SL2 stops shown, an area of the map showing the connections between the Silver Line and the downtown subway stations—enlarged to make it easier for customers to understand how the various Silver Line routes operate—and color-coordinated labels for all of the rapid transit lines.

Officials from the T said the winning map had a “more organized look” than the current version, resulting in a cleaner map where rapid transit lines stand out.

The transportation agency received an “overwhelming response” of submissions for the contest, despite some disgruntled attitudes toward asking people to construct a new version of the map for the T, free of charge. A panel of experts, including the MBTA, academics, urban planners, and mapping aficionados evaluated each of the entries against a set of criteria and the six finalists were released to public voting, but Kvrivishvili’s map received 6,837 votes to “definitely” be named the next system map.

Kvrivishvili’s version isn’t the final map redesign, however. Officials said in a statement Monday that  with “many more” stations in the pipeline, more modifications to the map will be made, such as the addition of the first phase of the Green Line Extension.

“We are entering an exciting period of growth and change in our system and I’m pleased that we were able to work with the public to help usher in some exciting new developments,” said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott. “As we continue to grow and improve our system, the new map will be a great symbol of the changes and updates were working on as a whole.”


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com