Towards a frequent Network Map for Montréal

August 24th, 2010 by ant6n

As posted in Montréalités urbaine and human transit, Montréal now has a frequent network brand. It’s called Réseau 10 Minutes max.

Jarret at Human Transit has been making the case for frequent transit maps for a while now. The idea is that bus service that runs at high frequency should be marked differently from other bus service, because these lines allow us to travel without looking up any schedule. In this way they are similar to rapid transit (like the metro); we only need a map to plan our journey. And some people tend to memorize them so they don’t need any map at all to make basic travel plans through their city.

Montreals Réseau 10 Minutes max includes 11 lines with all day frequent service, and another 20 which have frequent service in one direction until 2pm, and frequent service in the other direction afterwards. This service has to run all day at high frequency, otherwise there is no sense of reliability (i.e. not needing a schedule), and the lines are frequent from 6am to 9pm.

Inspired by Jarrets blog I have been planning to make a frequent network map based on existing schedules. But the STM was quicker than me, and with their new label saved me the work of scraping all their bus schedules and deciding which service could be considered frequent — problematic because the STM generally does not seem to believe in fixed interval schedules, so service that is really frequent during some points during the day might be very infrequent at others.

In a way this service represents a shift of paradigms away from schedules that are exactly modeled by demand, and towards service that is more easily memorized and can be more easily relied upon. The actual improvement in service might actually be fairly small and mostly during times many people don’t travel anyway; but it can create a powerful brand if it is marketed right.

That’s why it is surprising that there has been very sparse information about it so far, although the schedule is to take effect on August 30th. In particular, there is no map yet. Which leaves me to make a map after all. The shown image is the first draft, showing all metro lines and the all day frequent services, as well as the commuter rail (dotted). I opted for a very abstract view, compatible with the existing metro map and the new corporate design of the STM. With all the names and dots missing, in this minimalistic state, I find the map kind of appealing. But more info should really be added to make it actually useful, and I hope to add

  • The 20 one-way-frequent lines (grayed out because they are less reliable)
  • The names of the streets the buses are running on
  • Dots for intersections
  • Possibly little dots denoting every stop — they are a measure of how fast a service is (many stops make a bus slow)
  • A legend

It’s not clear whether it’s better to mark the streets busses are running on by labelling intersecting lines, or simply be putting the name of the street along every line. Also there is the problem of how to mark the direction of frequency. Thoughts are appreciated.

One Response to “Towards a frequent Network Map for Montréal”

  1. Jc Says:

    LOL Réseau 10 minutes Max, that’s so Québécois. I’m almost embarrassed.

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