This geographically accurate MBTA map shows its many twists and turns

The announcements play on trolleys as they move along the above-ground branches of the Green Line .
This geographic map of the Green Line helps explain why it takes so long to get anywhere. –MBTA

The London subway – err, Tube – recently released a geographically accurate map of the complicated system’s many stops and tunnels. The mess of curving colors is a fairly drastic change from the well-known Tube map that focuses more on design and clarity.

In Boston, the MBTA’s geographically accurate map shows some of the same kinds of twists, turns, and disparate distances between stops (looking at you, Green Line).

Compare the designed MBTA map that you’re familiar with to the MBTA’s stops plotted onto Google Maps. You can drag the slidey image composite below to the left and to the right to see.


The geographically accurate rendering has some key differences, including the westward turn at Alewife, the closeness of Park Street and Downtown Crossing, and the Green Line’s meandering.

A closer look at the Green Line shows how absurdly close each station is to the next, particularly just past Boston University on the B line and throughout on the C line.

The MBTA also provides more defined geographical maps that show the curves of the Red and Blue lines along their paths. Those turns are especially prominent near the Airport (left) and Harvard (right).

That explains the sharp turns you and your luggage feel on the way to the airport.

The differences between geography and design are most pronounced in the Commuter Rail. Compare below the MBTA’s straight-lined Commuter Rail map with the spider-like mess of its geographic locations.

Both versions stretch out from the city, but the geographic one does so in jagged mini-sections from city to city.

You can explore more of these geographically accurate maps on the MBTA’s website.

Gallery: The busiest stops along the T.

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