Home Subway Maps Map: Vignelli’s Regional Transit Diagram

Map: Vignelli’s Regional Transit Diagram

by Benjamin Kabak


Ain’t that just the prettiest little thing you ever did see? Click on it if you’d like to see it in extra large. There’s a PDF available too.

It took an event the size of the Super Bowl somewhere out in the swamps of Jersey to bring all the various regional transit options together to produce a map, but here we are. As part of a push to convince everyone in town for February’s big game to take the train, the MTA, PATH and New Jersey Transit, with a design assist from Yoshiki Waterhouse of Vignelli Associates, have released a regional transit diagram. The diagram “shows all interconnections between the regional transit services, and highlights with a football icon those areas where Super Bowl-related events will occur on both sides of the Hudson River.”

According to the MTA, for those looking for a hard copy of the diagram, check out the guides publications distributed by the Super Bowl Host Committee. The group will also make folding pocket maps available, and I’d imagine those will fetch a pretty penny on eBay later on. The MTA also plans to release four commemorative Super Bowl-branded MetroCards, available at all stations.

As to service patterns, I discussed the plans in depth earlier today, but the MTA reiterated that it will provide “more frequent rail service” during Super Bowl week. All regional transit agencies plan to halt construction during the time period too to ease travel, as 400,000 folks — or about a third the crowd in Times Square on New Year’s Eve — descend upon the area.

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adirondacker12800 December 10, 2013 - 4:39 pm

Amtrak is going to stop in Secaucus?

Patrick @ The LIRR Today December 10, 2013 - 7:13 pm

I believe they are, but I think the last thing Amtrak needs is clueless tourists accidentally getting on the wrong trains and ending up in Newark, DE; Mineola, TX; Brewster, WA; Camden, SC; Deer Park, WA; Dover, NH; Hastings, NE; Huntington, WV; Lawrence, KS; Long Beach, CA; Madison, FL; Madison, WI; Middletown, PA; Mount Vernon, WA; Mount Pleasant, IA; Newport, OR; Oceanside, CA; Salisbury, NC; St. Albans, VT; Williston, ND; or Woodbridge, VA!

Let them ride to New York or Newark and sort themselves out there.

Charles Krueger December 10, 2013 - 4:42 pm

One problem I see is that the A-C-E 34 St stop connects with NJT/AMTK/LIRR at Penn Station. On the map it looks as distant at PABT.
Also, AMTK shown as stopping at Secaucus, which it will only do for a limited time around the Super Bowl.

Patrick @ The LIRR Today December 10, 2013 - 7:14 pm

It is kind of confusing, but the subway stops themselves aren’t considered connected (it ties into Mr. Pete’s comment below)

John-2 December 10, 2013 - 5:20 pm

You can tell even Vignelli Associates thought this was a major event, because they allowed a semi-circle around the Meadowlands along with 3/4 and full circles around both airports. If this was 40 years ago, they’d have figured out a way to only use 45- or 90-degree angles at those locations to maintain the integrity of the design.

pete December 10, 2013 - 5:27 pm

As beautiful as this map is (1 transit authority for the metro area), it is a total lie. Some of the routes are 2 hours between trains, others are 2 minutes between trains. Fares range from $1.50 to >$20 on that map across half a dozen different payment systems.

Roxie December 10, 2013 - 5:44 pm

I don’t… see the part on this map where it claims at all that the systems are interconnected or run on the same schedules or fare systems? It’s exactly what it says it is: a regional transit map, bringing together the large variety of transit systems available between New York and New Jersey.

Bolwerk December 10, 2013 - 5:55 pm

That would appear to be the point he’s making. This could all be rapid transitified, and the region would have much more transit accessibility.

Patrick @ The LIRR Today December 10, 2013 - 7:22 pm

I agree with Mr. Pete in the sense that this map can be quite misleading. The dots at West 4th St/Washington Sq are all lined up in such a way that you would think you can easily transfer between the two (and in reality, you can). But at Hoboken Terminal, all the dots are lined up and touching the same way giving people the false impression that you can go between the PATH, HBLR, and NJTransit Rail when in reality they are three separate systems with three separate fares necessary to ride them.

Similar instances happen at NYP, GCT, WTC, EXP, NPT, 33rd/23rd/14th, NWK, NBS, EWR, etc., where they show connections as transfers when they are not. The only places where two services that need two different fares are differentiated is at Howard Beach and Jamaica for the AirTrain.

Michael December 10, 2013 - 8:27 pm

Generally there is only so much information that can be crammed into a graphical representation of the regional transit services. There is a lot of information that will have to come later, to enable a person to get to and from the Super-Bowl by transit.

This map is simply not trying to be all things for all kinds of riders, but rather exists to simply answer to the question, “How do I get to the Super-Bowl games” by transit. And the answer is that it is definitely possible, and here’s some ways to do it. The exact details of train times, travel directions, costs, etc – are details that would have to come later.

If I lived in the Bronx, and had to get to the Meadowslands for the game, this maps provides a much better answer than usual, “Take the #6 train and get to 34th Street-Penn Station. Ask them there”. A statement that would be typical of the usual conductors or station booth personnel. Often the transit personnel only sort-of know about their particular transit systems, and very little about other systems – to offer directions and advice. Even the MTA’s transit online advice service currently has a bit of trouble providing advice.

This is a situation where there are MORE DETAILS to come. The regional map is just one first step.


JJJ December 10, 2013 - 5:57 pm

Wait this is serious?

It’s garbage.

Quirk December 10, 2013 - 8:30 pm

Macaroni art at its finest.

Bgriff December 10, 2013 - 10:19 pm

While I see your point, the NYT did an analysis a few years back suggesting that the typical NYPD estimate of 1M+ at Times Square NYE is completely implausible and almost certainly multiple times too high.

Andrew Smith December 10, 2013 - 10:33 pm

I think the point has come where we, Ben’s readers, need to hold some sort of intervention designed to curtail the inexplicable Vignelli obsession that threatens to derange an otherwise sane man.

It’s a 45-year-old map that hasn’t seen service in 30 years. It’s not coming back. Let it go. Seriously, for you own sanity, let Vignelli go and ban his name from this site.

Phantom December 10, 2013 - 11:13 pm

I totally hate that map style.

The current design is way better.

q December 11, 2013 - 4:47 am

I don’t see Metro-North running through to Secaucus. Are they not doing their New Haven Line-Secaucus Train to the Game thing at all for this?

Eric December 11, 2013 - 7:14 am

In the original Vignelli map, routes that travel in parallel on the same set of tracks have the same color.

In the NJ part of this map, they don’t.

That one change destroys most of the utility of the Vignelli concept.

adirondacker12800 December 11, 2013 - 7:08 pm

They don’t on the subway portion either. Look at Central Park West. Didn’t on the original either if I remember correctly.

BruceNY December 12, 2013 - 12:26 am

On the contrary: in the original Vignelli map each individual route had its own color. I happen to have a (somewhat tattered) 1974 edition where the following routes had the following colors:
A Navy Blue (same as today)
D Orange (same as today)
B Charcoal Gray

BruceNY December 12, 2013 - 12:31 am

Oops–sent before I finished:
A Navy Blue (same as today)
D Orange (same as today)
B Charcoal Gray
CC Mint Green(yes–that’s two C’s, as in Local)
AA Magenta

The E was Sky Blue, the F was hot pink!

The Lexington Line didn’t have a trace of green:
4 Pink
5 Silver Gray
6 Yellow

The Vignellli map purposely mixed up the colors of individual routes that shared tracks on trunk routes.

Eric December 12, 2013 - 3:44 am

“They don’t on the subway portion either. Look at Central Park West.”

That’s an example which proves the rule. NYC has about 30 different subway lines. The human eye cannot quickly distinguish 30 different colors. The optimum number is about 5-10 colors. Given that there are 5-10 trunk routes in Manhattan, you give each trunk route a separate color. A little interlining, like at Central Park West, is unavoidable but tolerable.

Based on those principles: in this map, all PATH routes should have been one color. And each group of NJT routes (Passack/Bergen/Main, Montclair/Morriston/Gladstone, NE Corridor/Jersey Coast) should have been one color. That would have given New Jersey the clarity that Manhattan currently has in the map.

P.S. As has been pointed out, the original Vignelli map actually had 30 different colors. That’s a dumb idea, as I just explained. By “original” I was thinking of the NYC part of the above map.

lawhawk December 11, 2013 - 9:13 am

If this map is the one that the Super Bowl committee is going to distribute to people, it’s got some utility since it represents all the modes of transit other than ferry between NY and NJ. The accompanying legend could indicate that out-of-system transfers are involved at certain points.

However, there’s one issue that sticks out like a sore thumb.

The line indicating the NJT spur to Meadowlands only runs between Secaucus and Meadowlands. There’s no extension to Hoboken, meaning that the people who thought that there’d be trains that run one-seat rides from Hoboken to Meadowlands may find themselves having to switch trains at Secaucus.

From what I can tell, everyone arriving at Secaucus on any line (inc MBPJ or PVL from Hoboken) will have to transfer to the spur line trains. Right now, the time for connecting from Hoboken to Meadowlands ranges from 28 minute total trip up to 82 minutes depending on time of day on Super Bowl Sunday. NJT site indicates that the schedule is subject to updates/corrections and to reconfirm a week before to see the most updated schedule for timing the connections.

Michael December 11, 2013 - 12:37 pm

According to information gleaned from other transit forums, the trains that run on the Secaucus and Meadowlands segment, only travel on that segment and a nearby train yard – these trains no longer travel to/from Hoboken or Newark (as some have wondered). I’m told that the platforms are being lengthened to handle 10-car trains, and that the trains used will be double-decker trains.

In any case, a good deal of planning work between now and the February Super-Bowl has to be done. I am pretty sure that the timing of the trains, and their connections will be looked. In addition there are various events planned for Super-Bowl week, so those schedules will need to be worked into the transportation planning.

It is still very early in the game, and much too early to be critical.


Quirk December 11, 2013 - 10:39 pm

Other transit forums are just as accurate as wikipedia.

Get real please.

Bolwerk December 12, 2013 - 3:47 pm

Huh? Lots of transit forums attract pretty knowledgeable people.

Wikipedia’s transit coverage seems to produce a lot of glaring errors that take on lives of their own. Among them: SIRT as an FRA railroad, PATH’s connection to the NEC.


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