A few requests for a review of this major revision of the Bay Area’s BART map, so here goes…
This map is meant to be deployed when service to Milpitas and Berryessa begins, so it won’t be seen immediately – but it’s good that BART is planning ahead and getting this work done ahead of time.
Generally, there’s a lot to like about this iteration – the stylised coastline suits the schematic treatment of the route lines far better than the old pseudo-geographic approach, for example. The Oakland Airport transfer at Coliseum is treated the same way as other transfers now, rather than the awkward way that a terminus bar butted up to the interchange circles in the previous map.
It’s nice to see all the other rail transit options in the Bay Area on the map (ACE and VTA light rail have been added since the last edition), although I feel that the different line thicknesses (apparently to indicate level of service) are executed a little clumsily and are perhaps unnecessary on a map of this scope. At least this revision of the map corrects an error from a previous draft that had Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin services diverging in the wrong place.
Because of the extra spacing given to BART services down the peninsula to Millbrae, the Caltrain stations south of that point get jammed together very tightly, which isn’t ideal. I’m also not overly impressed with the blobby station markers used for these secondary services, as their size changes depending on the line thickness: at Santa Clara and Diridon, there are three different dot sizes adjacent to each other, which looks pretty haphazard.
Finally, although the new octolinear diagram looks fine, I do miss the distinctive slanted hexagonal treatment of the previous map… it was a distinctive design element that suited the layout of the network particularly well and set the BART map apart from so many other maps around the world.
Our final word: Looking to the future with some style. The area around San Jose will probably be revisited and revised as services come online in the future. Three-and-a-half stars.
Source: BART website