International subway system throwdown


We all know some cities "feel" smaller than others. But this set of subway maps presented at the same scale makes the differences obvious.

Just for fun, I made this image layering four of maps from major world cities in red, black, gold, and blue. Recognize the cities? Answer after the fold. . .

Sizewise, the winner here is London, shown in red. New York, in black, is a close second. The much less complex gold-green pattern is Washington, DC - note that it only approaches the size of New York and London because of the long spindly commuter line reaching north into Maryland. And that dense blue hairball in the lower right corner? That's Paris, mon ami.

Via fakeisthenewreal via rational contemporary.

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Paris makes sense. I've walked from Montparnasse train station to the Arc and it wasn't actually that far. My favorite place for not knowing 50 words of the language.

The Paris Metro is (relatively) compact, but Parisians also have the RER, which takes you much further out and is a lot faster!

By BioinfoTools (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

I recognized New York and Washington, but not the others. I'm actually surprised by how large DC's looks next to New York's considering how much area the latter has to cover. But I guess it would look smaller without the spurs.

What's Boston look like? Pitiful I imagine but the Red, Blue and Orange and Green lines cover a fair part of the urban area.

Just the Red lines spans from Cambridge down to Braintree. And the commuters, the Providence/Stoughton line spans Boston to Providence, and coming soon Warwick, Wickford and Westerly RI.

Boston's not too pitiful, Tony; as you mention it has some pretty extensive commuter spurs too. :) You can check it out at the original link. I didn't add it here only because the graphic was already so busy.

The diagrams at the link only include metro systems, not commuter rail.

Boston is actually a quite compact city, which is why the MBTA's footprint isn't much bigger than the Paris Metro's. It's dominated by the two lines that make it out to Route 128: the Braintree branch of the Red Line and the Riverside branch of the Green Line. Copley Square is not all that far from North Station--about a 30 minute walk, if that.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 11 May 2009 #permalink

Commuter rail is separate, yes; however, to keep things clear, the diagrams *do* include commuter spurs that are integrated into the metro system - in the case of DC, these reach well into Virginia (Franconia, Vienna) and Maryland (Shady Grove). So you can't equate the size of the system with the size of the city in question.

I remember the first time I visited Boston, in college - I decided to "tour the Metro". I'd gotten out and looked around at three different downtown stations before it registered with me that I was seeing the exact same buildings at each one! The stops are a little farther apart in Cambridge, though, and I assume in other peripheral parts of the city.