Michael Tyznik posted a link on Columbus Underground to another fantastic fantasy transit map that he has created. He calls it the tram-train system, with a mix of streetcars and light rail.
Michael describes the map as follows:
After my previous study of a light-rail transit system for Columbus, Ohio, I realized that restricting the system to using only existing freight rail rights-of-way was not the best solution. Instead, I created a system that utilizes existing rail rights-of-way, but also incorporates new rights-of-way to bring the system into more heavily-populated areas. The light-rail system runs as a local streetcar on surface streets within suburbs, then runs an express route on an exclusive right-of-way (freight rail lines and freeways) towards downtown Columbus. The system is fleshed out further with several streetcar lines throughout the central Columbus neighborhoods and along main thoroughfares to the north.
The map for this project actually started as a project to release a free, updated version of Massimo Vignelli’s landmark 1972 New York Subway Map. Unfortunately, after discussion with the MTA, copyright issues prevent me from releasing that finished map to the public. Instead, I took that energy and graphic style and it evolved into the map for this tram-train system.
Vignelli’s subway map was famous for sacrificing geographical accuracy in favor of simplicity, much like London’s Underground map. However, I think the geographical accuracy on Mike’s new Columbus map is pretty good, certainly easier to understand than the previous version.
The route structure also makes a lot of sense. Stop frequently towards the ends of the lines and run express on (or adjacent to) freight tracks to downtown in order to provide a reasonably fast total commute time. People living closer in will probably use the local streetcar or bus service to downtown instead of the regional light rail. I also like the frequent transfer opportunities on the system. It wouldn’t be hard to change from one mode to another.
Unfortunately, I think there is a fatal flaw with this system. Michael envisions light rail along freight tracks downtown and on local streets in the suburbs. However, most of the right-of-way limitations that would prevent light rail from being added along freight lines are near downtown, not in the suburbs. This is at least partially why COTA’s previous North Corridor light rail proposals have exited the freight tracks in around 17th Avenue favor of local streets like Summit Street, 4th Street, or High Street. You can read more about the existing conditions for local freight lines on MORPC’s site.
Nevertheless, it’s not like any of our previously featured fantasy maps have been exceptionally practical either. That’s why they’re called fantasy maps. So just enjoy the dream.