The Cincinnati Transit Map abstracts a large and complicated bus-based transit system into a legible graph that emphasizes service frequency and connectivity over geographic accuracy and minute detail.
The map’s first printing in 2011, with 30,000 copies, was mostly funded by Kickstarter and then distributed for free around Cincinnati. A second edition was soon called for and with a little more fundraising, another 20,000 maps were printed in 2012, again to be distributed for free.
All in all, the project was grand success, and while both local transit agencies stepped up as financial sponsors, neither has adopted any real degree of cartogrammatical abstraction for their own system maps, or an emphasis on levels-of-service.
It is our contention that a large part of the reason rail-based urban transit has become such a fad in the last decade is because it’s maps tend to be dramatically simplified and abstracted from space. If this is true to any degree, it’s a shame that so few agencies are yet looking at innovative ways of mapping the bus lines which constitute the vast majority of their services.