Victoria Frequent Transit Map – First Complete Draft

I did it. After over three years in the making, here is the first complete version of my frequency enhanced transit map of all fixed-route bus services within Victoria, British Columbia.

Victoria Frequent Transit Map – Cover

Victoria Frequent Transit Map – Inside

Click here to download the full PDF.

There were two primary purposes for this map: to make routes more legible from end to end, and to show different levels of service frequency.

The overall design is greatly influenced by the work of CHK America, in particular their Austin, Honolulu, and Orlando transit maps. The 2016 redesign of the Toronto Transit Commission system map was also an inspiration.

I’ve simplified (and somewhat distorted) the geography and separated as many routes as possible into their own lines. Streets/routes have also been simplified, mostly using a 15º grid. The L-shape of Victoria’s service area did unfortunately mean I had to use inset maps.

For the different frequency levels, I’ve set three line thicknesses for daytime service levels: one for 15 minutes or better, one for 30 minutes or better, and one for all other all-day weekday service. Limited stop/express service is displayed as an inline dash for any of these frequencies.

Then I set three different services types, each with its own colour:

  • Peak routes operate only Monday to Friday, at peak hours. Peak routes also have route numbers displays separately to help differentiate their service levels.
  • Standard routes operate all day, Monday to Friday, with most operating on weekends and in evenings.
  • Frequent routes operate seven days a week, with 15 minute or better service Monday to Friday during the daytime and evenings, and Saturday during the day. These routes also operate with 30 minute service or better at all other times.

Some Standard routes operate 15 minutes or better during the day on weekdays, but not in evenings or on weekends (such as 2/2A and 11), so they keep the same thickness as the Frequent routes but have Standard colouring.

Route colours were chosen to be bright, but not too ‘neon’ while also being colour-blind friendly.

I tried to make fonts as large as possible, keeping in mind the larger number of older transit customers. Street names are 7pt, route numbers are 8.25pt which are pretty large for a transit map. I had originally started with DIN Next, but switched to Roboto as I thought it would be easier for others to work with in the event that this map is released open source.

This map is sized at 28″x18″, which folds down nicely to 4″x9″ – the same size as BC Transit’s Riders Guide (I had originally wanted to go with 24″x18″, but I couldn’t fit in all the insets and legend). It will fit nicely into rack card holders on buses, in libraries/stores, and on BC Ferries. The number of folds is kept somewhat minimal (seven total) and completely unfolded, the map shouldn’t be much wider than a single seat on board a bus.

I’m also considering folding it down to 3.11″ x 6″ (ten folds total) which makes it roughly pocket/iPhone Plus sized

It can also be easily adapted to a 24″x36″ poster! Several bus exchanges throughout the region already have information boards where this poster could fit. Granted, it would probably be hard to read at a distance, but the opportunity still exists to provide an overview of the entire Victoria transit network.

Victoria Frequent Transit Map – poster example

Some things I may consider changing/revising:

  • Improve coastline
  • Possibly eliminate the 15 minute Standard line thickness. Might be too confusing being the same thickness as the Frequent network
  • Inset maps for complicated portions of the map, such as Langford, Royal Oak, and Sidney
  • Add in the Galloping Goose and E&N
  • Changing the copy on the print version (I just used some edited content from the BC Transit website)
  • Better cover design

Also my research into frequency and routing has been spaced out over three years, so some of this information may actually be out of date. I went back to double check everything, but I’m sure I missed something.

This is by no means the final version of the map. But I was tired of it languishing on my hard drive incomplete. So this is the first release of the whole thing, and I hope people enjoy it.

Victoria Frequent Transit Map – An Update

Happy 2017! As a present to myself (and to whomever actually reads this), here’s an actual blog post to start the year! And guess what? This post will be an update on the last post (from over a year ago). Below is the exact same map region as what I posted in October 2015, but with a few changes.

Victoria Frequent Transit Map – January 2017 Update

What’s different?

  • Updated colour palette to be a bit brighter
  • Route numbers now indicate daily service vs weekday only service
  • Improved directional arrow design
  • Removed one more service frequency level to further simplify look (the dashed route line on route 13)

So I’m actually getting close to actually finishing this project. But what’s left to do? Consider the following part of my New Years Resolutions:

  • Clean up/improve shoreline
  • Downtown inset map
  • Cover design
  • Make sure map is up-to-date with BC Transit’s service updates

If you want to see the full Victoria/Saanich/West Shore region of the map as of this morning, you can see it here.

Work in Progress – Victoria Frequent Transit Map

Unlike my previous mapping project for Victoria, this latest one uses only existing services. This is an attempt to improve the clarity of the current Victoria bus network, and create a legible, usable map. The end goal is to print a physical map, sized 24″x18″ (which would fold down to 4″x9″, matching the size of the current Rider’s Guide). Victoria and the West Shore are on one side, and the Peninsula is on the reverse. As a single piece, it’s 24″x36″, which could potentially be used as a poster at bus shelters.

Victoria Frequent Transit Map

There are two primary purposes for this map: to make routes clearly to follow, and to show different levels of service frequency.

The larger print size does help make the routes more legible, but I’ve also simplified (and somewhat distorted) the geography and separated as many routes as possible into their own lines. Streets/routes have also been simplified, mostly using a 15º grid.

For the different frequency levels, I’ve set three line thicknesses for daytime service levels: one for 15 minutes or better, one for 30 minutes or better, and one for 60 minutes or better. Anything less than 60 minutes gets a dashed treatment. Limited stop service is displayed as an inline dash for any of these frequencies.

Then I set three different services types:

Commuter routes operate only Monday to Friday, at peak hours.

Regular routes operate all day, Monday to Friday, with most operating on weekends and in evenings.

Frequent routes operate seven days a week, with 15 minute or better service 7am–10pm Monday to Friday and 8am–6pm Saturday, with 30 minute service or better at all other times.

Each service type has its own colour and line design.

Some Regular routes operate 15 minutes or better, but not in evenings or on weekends (such as 2/2A and 11), so they keep the same thickness as the Frequent routes but have Regular colouring.

At this point, this map has gone through numerous revisions and I’ve redrawn it about 4 times already. Originally I had designed it to be much larger, but then chose to consider a smaller map that would be easier to handle physically. I also showed a fourth service type (Express) but with only three routes meeting that criteria, it just added unnecessary noise. Type has changed, colours have changed. Right now only a small portion of the map is what I would call ‘final’. There’s still a lot of work to do, but at least at this point I’ve nailed down the sizing. Now I’ve just got to draw the rest of it out.

At some point in the future, I will post the final map and also a comparison with the existing Victoria transit map. Hope no one changes any services until then!

The Gutless Wonder

A year ago I sold the second car I owned, a 1996 Honda Civic. A second child was on the way, and the thought of having two car seats and a double stroller in a Honda Civic was like being told I had to build my own space shuttle – theoretically possible, but it was never going to happen. I’d owned that car for six years and 130,000km. It had seen me graduate college, get married, and brought home my first-born daughter.

So I wrote it a touching Craiglist ad (which was promptly taken down):

For over a millennia, the car has been the driving force behind all mankind’s achievements in engineering and discovery. From Issac Newton’s first 0-60 time, to pioneers driving Fords through rivers on the Oregon Trail, to me using the Dodge tool in Photoshop; cars are woven into the lanes of the human condition. But despite all this, one question has stood out and challenged the greatest minds throughout history: what is the meaning of car?

Today, we have that answer: The 1996 Honda Civic LX four-door sedan (with manual transmission).

What car says ‘car’ more than this car?

It has an even number of wheels, attached to axles. Yet another wheel controls its bearing. Foot levers determine its velocity. Dual-purpose transparent windows allow the user to view the world around him or her whilst also providing protection from the elements. Door mounted hinges allow ingress and egress. It has everything you come to expect from a car WITHOUT distracting frivolities, like power locks, power windows, power mirrors, power seats, heated seats, leather seats, cruise control, traction control, dual zone climate control, air conditioning, a sunroof, cigarette lighters, foglights. Satellite navigation? Why not gaze upon the stars, like the great Christopher Columbus did when he set sail for Indianapolis.

The 1996 Honda Civic LX goes forward, backwards, and around bends. Do you need anything else? I hope not! But if you’re worried about the four horseman of the apocalypse, have no fear. This car has the power of at least several more horses. Put your foot down and you will, eventually, be rewarded with all those horses grunting and buzzing and gnashing and stumbling and farting almost in unison. Impressive as that may be, these are not thirsty horses (about 7.2 L/100km city/hwy combined). Double wishful suspension and four astoundingly adequate tires provide give you the confidence to go around many corners at a reasonable speed.

You may turn corners, but you won’t turn heads. The 1996 Honda Civic LX was designed to never, ever attract anyone’s attention, ever. Are you a suspicious character who does suspicious things? Are you a teenager? Did I just ask the same question twice? Then this is the car for you. It is quite possibly the most boring item on the face of the planet. Babies fall asleep looking at it. Police officers cannot see it. Animals occasionally run into it because they cannot sense it as a physical object. Welcome to the invisible car.

Now, what’s life like inside the 1996 Honda Civic LX? Have you always wanted to live in a bowl of porridge? Well, you’re weird. But this may be the car for you. Never before has so much brown and beige been condensed into one space. Also it has dual cupholders and a 12V power outlet.

This then is truly an car. It moves humans and their cargo from destination to destination in a moderately competent manner. It can be controlled by limbs and a brain! It provides faster-than-walking transportation! It provides a view of the road and traffic within its immediate vicinity! It has an MP3 CD player! There is literally nothing else to distract you.

Here now is a list of distractions.

  • Mystery! Danger! Moral quandaries! Live life like Jason Bourne on the way to the Safeway to pickup milk. Because the transmission may fail at an indeterminate date in the future. At any time. It might have failed whilst you read this sentence. It might fail during the Justin Bieber’s tenure as Prime Minister. But much like the idea of print media as a sustainable business model, it is on the way out. Two different mechanical assessments are available for further review.
  • The SRS (Secondary Restraint System) light has been on since 2007. This most likely means that the airbag system needs maintenance. But instead of worrying about this, try this top tip: don’t crash. Not only do you save money on maintenance, you save money on insurance, on medicine, and… on life.
  • The ‘little click-y thing that turns off the turn signal when you’re done turning’ (which is the scientific term) does not work between October and May.
  • The clips that hold the sun-visors in place above your head have ceased to exist.
  • Do you enjoy dubstep, but wish it lasted less than a second and only occurred once in awhile? Then enjoy the weird thumping noise from the rear suspension trailing bushings, which may (but not necessarily) need to be replaced.
  • It once got in a fist fight. Someone punched the front right fender. I don’t know what the 1996 Honda Civic LX said to deserve it, but be advised that this car may have unpopular political opinions. Regardless, the fender is merely dented. It’s simply a cosmetic issue. And maybe a slightly aerodynamic one too.

So it needs work. Who among us doesn’t? Look at this car as a symbol of human existence. In that: it exists.

Panache. Power. Pantomime. Prestige. The 1996 Honda Civic LX has none of these. What it does offer though is a chance to go back to the basics. Back to the heart of the automotive experience. Back to… the car.

So ask yourself, ‘what is car?’

This car. Is car.

And it can be your car.

tl;dr Honda Civic. Runs. Good on gas. Needs work. Boring.

$1200 OBO.

The Gutless Wonder