This morning, WMATA released the final version of its updated Metro map, which shows the new service patterns that start this June. It has some subtle differences from the draft from last year.



Lance Wyman, the man who designed the original iconic map that has served the system for almost four decades, came back to revise this map. The new map, which shows the peak hour service patterns Metro has dubbed “Rush Plus,” keeps many of the same elements as the original.

But there are some changes, both subtle and otherwise, since the last version in October of last year.

The National Mall is darker and labeled. The final version of the map shows the National Mall and West Potomac Park (and the White House grounds) in a darker shade of green than the other parks shown on the map. This subtle change might make it clearer to visitors which stations are close to the Mall.

Station names have changed. The new map also introduces a few name changes which the WMATA Board voted on them several months ago. At least one station is getting a longer name: Navy Yard-Ballpark. But this map shows the first effort ever at attempting to shorten names. Many stations will be getting subtitles, and the New York Avenue station will be losing a few characters.

Many other small changes. Metro fixed a few errors in the draft, like moving the bend in the Red Line back to between Van Ness and Tenleytown, and putting the dots on the eastern branch of the Blue and Orange Lines in the center of the lines where they belong. The transfer station symbol for the Silver Line at East Falls Church is gone, and the Red Line stations in Maryland on the Shady Grove side have gotten more spacing.

Below, you can see an image overlaying the October draft atop the final version. In addition to the changes listed above, you can see some shifts in some map elements along with other changes.


Eagle-eyed readers might notice that some of the station names are still closer to their lines than others, and the parking symbols somewhat inconsistently align with either the top or bottom of the text.

More changes are coming

This map will only serve Metro for about 2 years. Another revision will happen when the Silver Line opens in late 2013 or early 2014.

Metro elected not to show the yet-to-open Silver Line running through downtown with the Blue and Orange Lines because it might confuse visitors. Instead, the new map will only show the Silver Line west of its junction with the Orange Line.

But since the Silver Line will run all the way to Stadium-Armory on the east side of the city, Metro will need to redesign the map to add it to the Blue/Orange trunk line. Lance Wyman has already created a draft of that map, but it does leave hope that any bugs with this map can be fixed in the 2014 version.

Consider showing short turns

The initial draft released in September used small dots to show stations where trains sometimes turn, such as Silver Spring and Mount Vernon Square. The October version took these out.


Left: The first draft of the revised map. Right: The final version.


I’ve felt that WMATA should do more to highlight stations on the map that appear regularly on train destination signs. Customers unfamiliar with the system need to be able to quickly identify the station on the destination sign so they know whether or not the train will take them where they need to go.

Perhaps the forthcoming next version can find a way to show this information that enlightens rather than confuses riders.

What do you like about the Rush Plus map? What would you change?

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Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Capitol Hill. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is a contract employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.