New Tube map: no zones, no Thames

The new Tube map is significantly less cluttered than the previous version, presumably in an attempt to address some of the criticism the Tube map has received lately.

Most of the information that has been removed isn’t essential for most commuters; however, as Londonist points out, the removal of zones might cause issues. Personally, I don’t need zones on my day-to-day commute. However, this is crucial information if I’m travelling to some far-flung Tube station. How do I get this information now? I’m not sure. Do I have to wait in the ticket queue just to ask a TfL employee what zone Station X is in? At the moment, I can download the old map from the TfL site, but I wonder how long it is before it disappears. Of course, if I plan my journey in advance, I can always get the zone information from Wikipedia.

This raises some interesting general questions: Is less clutter a good thing when vital information has been removed? Is designing for the 80% always the best idea? When removing rarely-used features, what alternatives should be provided to ease the transition to the new, simpler version?

I should add that I really do miss the Thames, even though I can see that it doesn’t add any useful information.

5 thoughts on “New Tube map: no zones, no Thames

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  2. Seems very odd, maybe TFL are so cutting-edge that they’ve gone past the Information Age and into the A Little Bit Less Information Age.

    Removing the zones is madness, they’re incredibly useful.

  3. I’m interested to see how this plays out.

    I think they’re making using the Tube very difficult. But it’s only difficult for a fairly limited use case.

    If you look at the majority of journeys on the tube, i.e. people on their way to and from work, zones don’t matter.

    I’m wondering if I’m sensitive to the removal of zones because the Tube map is where I expect to find them. I wonder about the people who are using the Tube for the first tube (or traveling across zones for the first time). Where would they expect to find zones? Would the look near the ticket machines or on the Tube map? Would they even be aware of zones?

    The Tube map no only showed us which zone each station was it, it also taught us that zones existed the first time we looked at it. At least, that’s how I remember learning about zones.

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