It’s a cottage industry among designers, transit nerds and planning geeks to try their hand at improving a transit map, especially the oft-maligned SEPTA map. Here is a collection of some of the best ones I’ve come across over they years.

If I haven’t provided proper credit for a map, please give me the details and I will make sure to praise those who took the time to try and make a better Philadelphia transit map.

Transit Map Tuesday ⫸

2010 – Joel Katz Design for Plan Philly

If the aggressive 90-degree angles of Sam Winfield were jarring to you, then this 2010 map by Joel Katz Design is the antidote. Katz has done a lot of design work in Philadelphia and in particular for the Center City District where they have done wayfinding work that has wound up across Center City Philadelphia. He had come up with this arc based design a few years earlier and updated it at Plan Philly’s request.

2014 – Peter Dovak

One of our favorite alternatives to the SEPTA map is this design by Peter Dovak. The design is clean and balanced, doing an excellent job of showcasing regional rail, subway/elevated, trolley and even New Jersey entries like the River Line and Atlantic City Line. Sadly Dovak passed away in 2017.

2015 – Adam Fisher Cox

In 2015, Adam Fisher Cox did a whole brand redesign for SEPTA. He included a new logo, iconography, rolling stock design and of course, a map. Check out the brand manual here.

2016 – Sam Winfield SEPTA System Map

Don’t like curves or 45-degree angles? Then Sam Winfield’s map is the one for you. It works surprisingly well and calls back to early 1970s Penn Central style regional rail maps. Sam also did a proposed graphics update manual, included here as Sam’s website appears down.

2019 – Jake Berman’s SEPTA Regional High-Speed System

Jake Berman wrote the book, The Lost Subways of North America and this map is actually based on a 1984 map titled General Operations Plan for the SEPTA Regional High Speed System. It includes the proposed 70th and 84th Street stations on the Airport line that was about to debut back in 1984.

2020 – Theodoræ Ditsek Delaware Valley Transit Map

Theodoræ Ditsek created this map shortly before leaving the East Coast for Indianapolis. He tackled the SEPTA map and wayfinding system. Most interesting is the inclusion of frequently run buses.