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How to Design an (Unofficial) Transit Map

posted by Jason Kottke May 17, 2023

In this short video, Norwegian creative director Torger Jansen explains how he designed an unofficial transit map that combines all three of Oslo's public transportation networks (tram, metro, train) into a single diagram. His four main goals:

1. Showing all the lines on every network, thus making it easier to understand the service patterns.
2. Making it recognisable with the official line colours.
3. Compressing unnaturally long distances between stations.
4. Balancing aesthetics and accessibility. The diagram is clear and easy to read with minimal fuss.

As Jansen notes, this is not how a design process would work in the real world — there's no user testing or competing stakeholders to please — but from a purely aesthetic and functional standpoint, it's still an interesting challenge and puzzle to attempt to solve. (thx, david)