Recently Restored New York City Subway Map May Vastly Improve Modern Redesigns

Back in 1964, the MTA decided it needed a better designed subway map and held an open competition to create the perfect map. Local lawyer R. Raleigh D’Adamo decided to submit a design and won the content with a unique design.

His design separated local from express routes and assigned separate colors to each of them. As retold by Peter Lloyd of, submissions had to fit all the subway lines into a geographically correct map. So to use as little space as possible, D'Adamo employed colored squares along shared lines. Efficient? Yes. But where the lines cluster most, the map begins to look like a Chutes and Ladders board. Plus, no station names appear on D'Adamo's map.

The map was never implemented, instead being used as inspiration for the official 1967 subway map, eventually being lost to history until D'Adamo recently found an old color photograph of the design sitting in his basement.

Digitally restored by designer Reka Komoli, the map is now available to inspire all future MTA map designers with its simplicity and space-saving feature of in conveying express vs local lines with a checkerboard pattern.

It's cool to find old stuff like this, but we are still in favor of the beautiful and geometric Moilanen Map.

via Wired, CityLab

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Editor in Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's with his partner and son. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time eating, running, and working on cool stuff.

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