Future Boston resident makes time-scale MBTA map to plan his commute

MBTA time-scale map.

A graphic designer and soon-to-be Boston resident recently created an time-scale map of the MBTA rail lines, offering a quick glance at how long a trip might take.

“It is a hobby for me. I pick up little graphic design projects for fun. This was my ‘welcome to Boston’ map, to introduce myself,” Dunn said of the time-scale map, which he posted on Stonebrowndesign.com.

The graphic designer did a version for Washington D.C.’s public transit system when he moved there a few years ago.

“I was curious. I wanted to see what it would look like, and how the stops were spaced by time,” Dunn said, adding that in D.C.’s transit system, riders have more choices about what lines they can take to get from point A to point B.

“In Boston there is really only one route to get you there,” he said.

The times are based on the MBTA’s “Trip Planner,” Dunn said: “There is a little bit of estimation that comes in there.”

Dunn said he believes commuters often have a rough time planning their trips.

“You can’t always count on schedules,” he said. “The map is supposed to offer a quick glance to provide an understanding of how long a commute is going to take.”

Metro asked – would the T consider offering a similar time-scale map to customers?

“The T loves seeing creative and innovative versions of our map. Over the last few years, it has been cool to see different mobile applications offered by third parties using different version of our map,” said MBTA Spokesman Joshua Robin. “That said, we will be keeping our standard map.”

So what has Dunn learned about his future commute? It turns out the reaction he has gotten from Bostonians since putting the map on his website has been just as informative as the map itself.

“I’ve learned I’m living on the least popular and least reliable line, the Green Line. That came through very clearly in the responses I’ve gotten.”


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