Infographic Of The Day: The Re-Redesigned London Tube Map

Mark Noad's online reinterpretation of the London Underground diagram gets a refresh that reveals transit times and walking distances between stations.

Our post about Mark Noad’s attempt to improve the classic London Underground map (or is it a diagram?) got readers excited and enraged in equal measure. That didn’t stop him from continuing to refine his creation, which adds additional geographic accuracy and other re-visualizations like transit times between stations and a stark view of which stations offer step-free access to the disabled. Oh, and there’s an iPhone app now, too.

One of the most confusing aspects of the classic Tube Map for travelers new to London is its geographic distortion—certain stations seem mere steps away from each other when they’re actually a hike, or vice versa. Noad’s first redesign addressed this by simply rejiggering the diagram to be more literally map-like, but his updated version does one better by providing an interactive overlay that visually highlights the station groups that tend to confuse people in this way, and displays walking times in minutes between them.

[A version of the map showing the walking distances between stations in minutes]
[Another map layer showing the above-ground links between stations]

Even better, though is his visualization of which stations in the Underground station offer step-less access: the map simply deletes all the stations that don’t, making the ones that do much easier to zero in on quickly—while also making a stark statement about "how few stations in central London cater for disabled travellers," Noad writes.

That said, interacting with the map in a browser window is an awkward chore: the map can’t be blown up to full-screen and the legend is simply too tiny to be useful. The iPhone app isn’t much better: the static maps offer none of the web-version’s useful interactivity other than pinching and zooming — tapping on a station does nothing. Instead, the app launches with a strangely bare-looking text list of stations to browse, which offer interesting historical factoids but don’t link to each other in a standard "trip planner"-type way. We applaud Noad’s continuing efforts to refine the London Underground map for digital platforms, but there’s still a long way to go.

[Explore Noad’s updated London Underground map]

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9 Comments

  • Peter T (ex Londoner)

    I can see the value of the new map, particularly in terms of real distances BUT it defeats the original concept of the traditional map - which , as John points out, was a DIAGRAM. It was in fact conceptualised by an electrical engineer who was used to using wiring diagrams which had no relationship to real distances (look at the wiring diagram of your car and then view it if 'real size and location')
    Two different ideas, both have their place ( but the A to Z Already locates the stations anyway)

  • Wildfire900

    The top map doesn't show walking times between the stations... I suggest it perhaps shows the minutes the tube takes between the stations? For example, it does not take three minutes to walk from Angel tube station to Old Street tube station. Oh i see everyone has spotted this! Good! 

  • CJ

     I disagree, it doesn't show either.
    Vauxhall - Warren St takes 6 minutes on the Victoria line, as does Holborn - Green Park on the Piccadilly line, however the later route is half the size on the map.

    In terms of walking distances it suggests Elephant and Castle - Kennington (less than 5 minutes) will take as long as Tottenham Court Road - Bond St (about 15 minutes; more during the day).

  • Friedrich

    the map doesn't show walking distances, it shows travel time when one is using the ungerground service.