Schematic Transit Maps Affect Passengers’ Travel Choices

More fodder for the long-running argument between geographically accurate subway maps and system diagrams in the style of Beck’s London underground map: a new study suggests that schematic transit maps — and the London tube map in particular — distort passengers’ travel path choices. That’s the conclusion drawn by NYU professor Zhan Guo in a paper published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice (a PDF of the manuscript is available).

[T]he map effect is almost two times more influential than the actual travel time. In other words, Underground passengers trust the tube map (two times) more than their own travel experience with the system. The map effect decreases when passengers become more familiar with the system but is still greater than the effect of the actual experience, even for passengers who use the Underground five day or more per week.

Via Second Avenue Sagas.