Among many of the things that I geek out over, one of my more obscure interests is mass transit and its associated ephemera – particularly system maps. Maps are reductive by their very nature, and transit maps take that reduction to an extreme. There’s a beautiful precision in such reductionism, even if the precision is often more imagined than real.
So you can imagine my dismay when the good folks at Moving Hillsborough Forward sent me a giant map of the proposed transit system improvements here in Tampa:
Instead of beautiful reductionism, it looks like a bizarre, multicolored spaghetti. While I’m sure the designers of this worked very hard, and it probably had to go through hundreds of different departments before getting approved, looking at it feels like a hemorrhoid on my eyeballs.
So it is in that spirit that I decided to take on the task of creating my own map of Tampa’s future transit system. Instead of trying to insert bus routes and circulator systems, I focused mainly on fixed route systems like light rail and high speed rail. The stations are completely made up, but the routes follow pretty much exactly what HART and Moving Hillsborough Forward have made public.
Harry Beck I’m not, but I think it does give a better sense of how mass transit in Tampa is going to shake out (if it does). I wanted to do away with the highways completely, but in our car dominated region I found it hard to remove the main point of reference for most people.
This was a fun project, so I’ll be working on improving and expanding it.