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A couple of weeks ago, WTOP reported that Metro was planning an overhaul of the iconic map, which has been pretty much the same since it was designed in 1976. The proximate cause is the addition of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport, but this is no mere maintenance project: Metro isn’t saying at this point how far it’s prepared to go in changing the look and feel of the map, as well as wayfinding tools throughout the system, from the line diagrams on pylons to signage on the cars themselves. A survey has already gone out to riders, and focus groups are in the works.
For all its visibility, the Metro map hasn’t been universally loved. Graphic artists have proposed various alternative configurations. Should the map incorporate other pieces of the transit system, like the Circulator? Should it look cleaner and more elegant, like the new Moscow map? Does it need color adjustments, like the new New York Subway map?
Metro has just started thinking about how to upgrade its map, so we should too. In fact, I’ll be writing about in this week’s paper. If you’ve got thoughts to contribute, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org (by tomorrow!).