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.


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.”

  • Breadwinner

    “Map 1” started out with a decent chance of being chosen because it was first on the list. Not sure what the options were, but a statics undergrad might have a field day if they checked the votes.

    • http://www.cambooth.net Cameron Booth

      I seem to recall that when you voted, the order of the maps was randomised. It was called “Map 1”, but may have appeared in any position in the survey.

  • Daria Rotikina

    Nice map, Misha Kvrivishvili)

  • http://blog.zevdesigns.com Zev
  • Leaky Pen

    The winning map is well designed and easy to read. However, as with the existing MBTA map, there is an inconsistency as it shows too few stops on northern commuter rail lines. This has always puzzled me. For example, it would be useful to see more than just the West Medford stop on the Lowell line by including stops in Winchester and through Woburn. Same with the Haverhill and Newburyport lines. These too should show several more stops to be consistent with what is shown for southern and western commuter rail lines. Including stops out to the Route 128 belt would seem to make the most sense.

    • Gretchen Dietz

      I’m not sure why you say it isn’t consistent – most of the commuter rail lines aren’t shown. Only Fitchburg, Needham and Fairmount have stops shown. My line – Middleborough/Lakeville only shows the last stop, same with Franklin and Providence . . . I agree that it’s not consistent in that some lines are shown but the majority are not, whether they are north or south lines.

      • Leaky Pen

        I was not aware that other commuter rail lines were omitted from the map. In any case, I think the new map should show all commuter rail stops that fall within the Route 128 belt. This way users can quickly glance all of the major rail options within the metro area all in one map.

  • k8stohlman

    I trust Mr Kvrivishvili will be paid for his work and that he will be paid as a consultant for future maps. He is obviously very talented, a good map is valuable.

  • Benjamin O’Connor

    This map is well laid out and looks good, but it’s a fail because it doesn’t note the pedestrian access between Cleveland Circle and Reservoir on the C and D green lines. If they can fix that (bring the end of the C line down a bit and draw a pedestrian access line, like between Park and DTX), then I’d agree this is a winner.

  • ad857

    Does anyone else think that this map is *not* an improvement over the old one? I think this map gives way too much space and attention to the Green Line branch stops, while sacrificing any semblance of accuracy to the actual shape/direction/proportions of the lines. And the amount of space it dedicates to the two silver line routes downtown is not efficient or accurate, seeing that Boylston and Chinatown stops are literally a short city block apart in real life.

    In addition, it shrinks the northern rapid transit lines to such a degree that it makes it look like Downtown Crossing to Forest Hills is twice as long as North Station to Oak Grove on the Orange Line – when in reality they are both approx. 5-6 miles.

    The 77 bus route (Mass Ave) actually runs to the north of the Red Line after Porter, but this map suggests the opposite. And Braintree is much, much, further south than Mattapan Square in real life.

    Sorry for the book – but in short I think the old map had a simple elegance that managed to balance detail with geographical accuracy and deserves to stick around.

    • LukasMaps

      Shows what you know. The old map was a piece of crap.

  • bostodan

    One nice thing, at least until there are significant route changes, is that many of the map submissions are available here: http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/?id=27169 so you can pick your favorites, try them for a while, and see how their pros and cons are revealed in daily use. For example, I like the way Kenneth Miraski’s map (http://www.mbta.com/uploadedimages/Schedules_and_Maps/System_Map/Survey%20Map%204%20lg.jpg) ties to the physical geography, and also indicates, somewhat subtly, when the line is running above ground or below water. So it will be nice to have it around to consult when such factors are important to me.

  • Deval Patrick

    Guess what I paid the winner? NOTHING! Muahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa!

  • chris

    This map blows.

  • LukasMaps

    Hmm, do these commenters actually hate the map, or are they just pouting that they didn’t win, just like hundreds of other internet-using cartographers?