Design of the Mumbai Rail Map
Discussion about concerns, systems and methods of designing a rail network map for INDIA
The design of the Mumbai Rail Map brings to fore the nuances of designing an information system, the Mumbai Rail Map (MRM), in a multicultural and multilingual context, for commuters with varying degrees of literacy and exposure. The discussion includes concerns, systems, and methods we can adopt towards the design of public information systems for India.
The design of the Mumbai Rail Map is a book in five parts. It begins with a short conversation about identifying the need for a rail map, followed by the process of creating a map from scratch and design decisions through its five subsequent iterations. The MRM, like many rail maps across the world, appears too complex to engage with. The second section of the book delves into the issue of complexity and elaborates how complexity can be tamed through tools available to the information designer. The third section of the book is an objective dissection of the readability of MRM maps installed at Bandra and Dadar stations. Section four focuses on the need to establish a system of colors for each line in the network; a system if not adopted in time will lead to chaos. The last section of the book delves into the nuances of designing information systems for individuals with color-blindness and illustrates the need for designers to be aware of concerns for information systems to be inclusive.
The author believes that the Mumbai Rail Map, like any other public information system, is not a product, but an essential part of railway infrastructure. Therefore the role of the designer is to create awareness within the society about the need for a user-friendly information system and design one that is accurate, inclusive, and context-aware.
Anyone interested in the design of subway diagrams/maps.
“Mumbai Rail Map
is not a product.
It is the missing infrastructure
that Mumbai needs.”
– Mandar Rane