Been following this Tumblr thing for a while now. Good stuff. Go look!
This happens to be a topic that fascinates me. It fascinates me in two ways. The topic of sub-state governments themselves is of interest to me because just about every state is different. Counties (some strong, some close to non-existent), parishes, judicial districts, cities, towns, villages, boro(ugh)s, and sometimes more than one at once. And that doesn’t even get to single-purpose local governments like fire protection or school districts.
The endless debates over regional consolidation, which is occasionally punctured by actual changes, is also of interest partly because of where I was raised.
Anyway, Saint Louis and more specifically the 6 square miles of Ferguson, Mo, are in the news and there is actually, a regional consolidation aspect to it. Read the article for the author’s thoughts.
I’ll stipulate right up front that including the NYCTA in this is silly. Four hundred and sixty-eight stations on ten lines served by 24 different services is seriously different from any other rapid transit system in the USA. So just ignore it.
On the subject of WMATA’s DC Metro (which at least has different services running along the same lines going to different termini) I really don’t understand the move towards directional signage. As the article says, their system isn’t cartesian, it’s more like spaghetti; what does “westbound” even mean? And when you’re in DC’s CBD, you’re underground anyway.
Seems to me that pointing to a service’s terminal is the simplest way. If a passenger is trying to navigate, they can see where they have to get off (Quincy Center, say) by comparing where they are (Harvard Square) to where they need to be and then following that line to its end to see which direction they need to go based on the terminal. Yes, this assumes a line chart or map in the station but you have to give a few hints. So you go to the platform marked “To Braintree” and get on a train that goes to the same place (not on one marked Ashmont!).
Sometimes not enough attention is paid to wayfinding but I don’t see how moving from terminal names to directions is going to help.