Robert Bielaski is so passionate about public transit that he went all the way to Budapest for a good suggestion on how to improve CTA rail maps by showing more bus and other transit connections better.
Well, maybe that's not exactly why Bielaski traveled to Budapest recently, but he recognized a good thing when he saw it. He noticed that "in addition to other subway connections, the in-train Line Map over the doors shows the various bus and tram connections at each stop in an easy-to-digest diagram." And he thinks the CTA "can employ the same technique to improve the visibility of its connections and make transit travel in Chicago better."
Here's the Budapest map (high-res version here):
Here's the current CTA transit map for the Blue Line:
And here is Bielaski's proposed Blue Line map (high res version here):
This proposed map is chock-full of useful information on all CTA bus, Metra and Pace connections.
Bielaski helpfully provided potential reasons why the CTA might not want to change its maps, with their own responses:
Potential Objection: The Proposed Line Map is too crowded.
Response: The current map underuses its space with abundant blank background and an unnecessarily large CTA logo. Our Proposed Map is an efficient use of available space.
Potential Objection: The Proposed Line Map is confusing because too much information is provided.
Response: Similar to the Budapest Line Maps, the Proposed CTA Line Maps would trust that users of the system are able to process the information on the map and select what they need. If you know you want to catch the 73 Armitage bus to Lincoln Park Zoo, then look for it, find that the connection is at Western, and exit the train at that stop.
Potential Objection: There is no information on the map(or anywhere onboard the train) about where a bus connection will take the rider. Without that information, the information about a connection is useless.
Response: The connection information gives the rider information that the connection exists. The rider can later find out if this connection is useful to him. The rider may have family in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, see on the map that there is a California bus connection at Kedzie-Homan, and research if the California bus will take him close to his family for a future trip.
Of course, he forgot the most important reason - replacement cost. But this is a good idea that's definitely worth consideration by the CTA when it's time for a map refresh.
Bielaski submitted his ideas with a work colleague, Brian Kravets. Thanks for your efforts, fellas!