Submission – Fantasy Map: Connecticut Metro by Nick Fabiani

Submitted by Nick, who says:

I’ve attached my draft map of an imaginary rail system for Connecticut — if you have time, I’d love to get your feedback!

We have little to nothing in the way of public transit that serves people who want to travel around and not just through Connecticut. We have some great bus systems (and our first BRT system!), but we’re served by rail lines that are used primarily for commuters to leave the state to work. I care a lot about my home state, and I can’t help but imagine how beneficial it’d be for us to have a system that serves so many currently unserved communities and helps them reach other parts of my state. This system would do just that.

I spent a lot of time struggling with how much information was right to present. I originally had Metro-North and Amtrak lines on here as well, but really struggled with labelling stations - because they currently serve so few stations on my map, I found it awkward for the lines to be there. More often than not, it just pushed the station labels farther from their lines — in too many cases, that led to confusing situations. And I struggled to decide how to portray them; should they be lines of equal length or thinner? How should interchange stations between them and the main lines work (this was particularly challenging)? And further, the whole driver behind the design of this system was to show how comprehensive the system is in moving citizens around Connecticut, not just through. So not portraying the actual interstate line helps emphasize this point.

I had originally started with circles as the main station signifier, but in trying to figure out how to incorporate the interstate lines, I found myself switching back and forth between circles, lines, and tick marks. I eventually ended up back where I started, and I feel confident with my choice.

I didn’t pay as much attention to color as I was hoping. Eight lines was a lot, and I found myself struggling to have line colors that were distinct from each other. In the end, I worked to make sure similar colors did not interact or were close.

Transit Maps says:

Nick sent me quite a few previous drafts of this map, and it was great to see the progression and improvement he made with each version. This is a really nice, well-considered piece that’s very clean and easy to look at. I particularly like the ligature “ct” logo: very stylish and clean.

I think the choice to only show intrastate routes, with additional pointers indicating Amtrak and Metro-North routes that continue outside the state is wise and prevents any possible confusion. Some might say that the newly-opened CTfastrack BRT between New Britain and Hartford should be shown, but hey – this is a fantasy map. Maybe in this world, the BRT never got built, or perhaps it’s been converted to light rail?

Nick says colours caused him some headaches, but I think he’s done a pretty decent job. The lemon yellow Bridgeport–Torrington line is a bit problematic as the white station dots disappear a little bit within it. I always like to make my “Yellow Lines” a little bit oranger to counteract this, something like M15 Y100 in a CMYK breakdown. The other slight problem is the concurrent green and orange lines into New London: it looks okay to normal viewers, but the two colours are actually very similar for some colour-blind users. Remember, you can proof for colour-blindness from within Illustrator and Photoshop.

Apart from that, I’d probably just move the “System Diagram” legend to the right to align with the right edge of the text above it. It just seems to be floating without any obvious relationship to other elements of the map at the moment.

All in all, really nice work here from Nick!

Source: Nick’s website – click through for some detail images and a full rationale behind the map.


Fourth of July live in Hartford on April 12th. 

Great quality!


Chicago live in Hartford on 12th April. 

Sounds like some laughter going on :D


Eugene live at the Bushnell Center in Hartford, CT on April 12th.

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