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Julie Steele recently did a really great O’Reilly Radar interview with Eddie Jabbour where he talked about his approach to designing the NYC Subway KickMap, which he created to help simplify navigation of the NYC subway system.
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New York NYC Crime Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Education Obituaries Sports Yankees Mets Giants Jets Knicks Nets Rangers Islanders Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer College High School The Score News Crime U.S. Department of Homeland Security testing subway system airflow in event of chemical attackA  Dept. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate conducted an airflow study at Grand Central Station on Monday. Department of Homeland Security officials Monday released harmless gases and particles into the subway system to test airflow in the event of a chemical attack. There are currently no credible threats against either New York City or the subway system, officials said. The workers released harmless gases and particles into the subway system to test airflow in the event of a chemical attack.
Some of the sampling results will be made available to the public but specifics will not be released to prevent the information from ending up in the wrong hands. Robert Ingram, Battalion Chief of FDNY's Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness, said the tests will be a€?extremely beneficiala€? to emergency planners and responders in the city.
Last night, the Museum of the City of New York brought together a panel of New York City subway map dignitaries for “The New York City Subway Map – Form v. Massimo Vignelli started off the conversation with an introduction to transit diagrams around the world. Paul Shaw, author and typographer, then introduced some common problems to consider when making a subway map. With the onset of new technologies, more and more people are taking it upon themselves to alleviate some of these issues. Despite the obvious frustrations with and criticisms of the MTA’s design choices (and perhaps because no MTA representative sat on the panel), it was a jovial evening overall.
Meredith Baber is a Project Associate at Urban Omnibus and a Masters candidate in the Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture Program at Columbia University’s GSAPP.
The views expressed here are those of the author only and do not reflect the position of Urban Omnibus editorial staff or the Architectural League of New York.
Perhaps the discussion might have had some real meaning if there was someone representing the MTA map. I could give you an essay, based on truth and actual experience with the map, because I’ve lived with it for over thirty years and am witness to its aging. But the problem is that the current map is *neither* a clear diagram of the subway system *nor* an accurate depiction of the city’s geography.
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The New York City subway system is a series of winding tunnels navigated by smelly train cars with odd odors that can only be described as human.
But there is one glorious and highly entertaining spot in each subway train — looking out the first car's front window. Now a lot of the new subway cars with their fancy air conditioning have a special film placed over these windows, making it difficult for train enthusiasts to get a rats-eye-view of the subway's tunnel system. Thankfully, someone strapped a camera to the front of a C train recently and traveled from 168th street through Brooklyn using this view.
The New York City Subway has the largest number of stations in the world, 468 to be precise, making it the second longest subway network and the seventh highest in daily passenger numbers across the globe. Eddie Jabbour, Creative Director of Kick Design, New York has inexhaustibly been recommending the Olympian task of designing a new map and communication solution for what is considered to be the most complex subway system in the world. The meticulousness of the task did not seem to intimidate Eddie Jabbour, who proposed an impressive method to redesign the New York City Subway maps while making them a lot easier to read and use. Samples of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx are available individually; however, there is also a consolidated map of all the islands together. Created with clarity and ease of use, it allows riders to navigate this vast system easily and without uncertainty.
As part of the study, officials will collect air samples at 55 stations in and around Manhattan.
Massimo noted the differences between a diagram and a map, but stressed the importance of both form and function in both. Tauranac is a New York City native who has been making maps of the city for almost 40 years and sat as the chair of the committee to redesign the MTA subway map in 1979.
He explores the subway system, looking at signage and stations, and has come to understand the complexities that are inherent in a large transit system such as that of the MTA.
Eddie Jabbour designed the KickMap as a geographical and graphically legible alternative to the MTA map, and even offered it to them to use. Serious discussions were balanced by more lighthearted conversations, such as favorite subway stations (which ranged from the abandoned City Hall station to the grand space of the 181st Street station in Washington Heights). I thought the discussion at the museum was great, but the MTA perspective would be valuable. Ongoing support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, the membership and board of the Architectural League, and readers like you. And they also sped it up, turning the long ride into a timelapse — because nobody wants to be on the C train longer than they have to. Powered by its own proprietary technology, Mashable is the go-to source for tech, digital culture and entertainment content for its dedicated and influential audience around the globe. Although the new map has not been released officially, several samples are available through the Kick Design Website.

These samples indicate new maps which are cleaner and crisper, and which will help users easily identify routes, lines and stations. The subway map is the key to understanding this most complex subway in the world, which has 26 separate lines and 468 stations.
The redesign intended to retain certain elements of a diagrammatic map, but based on geography, with a new color coding system for grouped trunk lines (prior to this, there was a different color for each line). One archival image he presented showed a woman in a station, standing at a large call board.
If you just pushed a button representing your final destination, the board would tell you how to get there from your current station.
So Jabbour and his son created an iPhone app, which notes day and nighttime service changes, options to receive notifications of unexpected delays, GPS technology to help locate nearby stations and a compass to help orient yourself after exiting to the street. For this reason the design of the subway map can directly influence ridership numbers and can indirectly have an effect on New York’s traffic congestion and pollution.
This behemoth was the predecessor to smart phones and Google maps, but why did such a useful concept disappear from the subway system? The app has been downloaded by over 350,000 people — a sign, Jabbour pointed out, that people are calling for a less confusing option. In short, a better-designed subway map will make our subway system more open and accessible.
Now, for unfamiliar travelers, it is hard enough even to know where to get on the subway, let alone travel from one destination to another and transfer trains. But, he added, we can’t rest on smartphone tools, which are only used by a fraction of subway riders. The 1972 Vignelli NYC subway map was an attempt at a diagrammatic display for the subway system, consisting of 45 and 90 degree angles, many colors, and extreme legibility.
The current map is not for travelers who need expedited information, but for the person who has time to scan tiny type to decipher whether or not the N train stops at 28th Street. There is still a dire need for easily-accessible print media, or other innovations that can benefit everyone. However, the map was criticized by the public, who found the lack of above-ground geographic and navigational details confusing.
In 1979 the MTA ousted Vignelli’s diagram for a “more legible” version — legibility defined, not as visual and textual clarity, but as geographical clarity.

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