The London Underground map is pretty amazing and like many others I think it’s a great piece of design (which is particularly remarkable seeing as it came from simple circuit diagrams). It’s simplified an extremely intracate network and makes navigating one of the busiest cities in the world easier for commuters and tourists alike:
image credit: screenshot of the TFL underground map.
As it grows in complexity it’s hard to imagine it being shown in any other form, but some have managed to do so. Their versions aren’t necessarily easier to use, but they do add some depth to understanding the network, and in some cases, quite literally, the map…
The real London Underground network
image credit: www.london-tubemap.com.
This map shows the literal layout of the network, it isn’t quite as simple as the commonly used design, but it does reveal important information such as walking times between stations as well as improving your geography. You can see a fully interactive version at www.london-tubemap.com which allows you to highlight fare zones, walking & journey times and more.
London Undergound in circles
image credit: Max Roberts
This design was created by Max Roberts after feeling that the current design was becoming too cluttered. I’m not entirely sure this version makes it any simpler (in my opinion it seems a tiny bit more cluttered), but it does offer a refreshing view and shows that the original design isn’t as rigid as one would expect. You can find out more here.
3D underground map/simulation
image credit: Bruno Imbrizi
The image above is just a screenshot of this map and doesn’t really do it justice, click here to see the interactive version which can be rotated, zoomed have lines & trains toggled etc. As with the accurate network map above, this isn’t going to be of any use when travelling in London, but it does give you a better understanding of how the network is constructed, which is nice. The map is by Bruno Imbrizi.
That’s just a few examples of the number of alternatives available, when researching this blog post I came across this list of alternatives by the londonist if you fancy looking at even more. If you know of any, let me know about any other nice versions below.