Like the Bay Area, greater Northern California has too damned many transit operators. There are currently four (long-distance) commuter and intercity rail lines in the region (or three, if the San Joaquins is a single line with branches) that are run by three different agencies*, with two more on the way. Arguably, it doesn’t really matter — with infrequent schedules and no timed transfers, or discounts on transfers, these are functionally standalone lines serving separate markets, not an integrated network. But California has a state rail plan calling for greater integration, and in the Bay Area, integration of mapping and wayfinding is already underway. A map of megaregional transit options would be an easy way to raise awareness, simplify entry for new users and reduce barriers to access. (* Technically, the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission both runs ACE and oversees the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, which runs the San Joaquins. All the more reason to combine branding.)
NOTES ON DESIGN
This map replaces a previous map that showed planned expansions of Northern California rail. Short version: Those expansions were both continuing to expand and looking more and more delayed, or unlikely. It should be noted that Caps trains (and presumably, San Joaquins) now display maps of both services in similar styles. Amtrak maps also show Amtrak Thruway bus routes, although more important connections, such as to BART, are barely shown if at all. My favorite of the existing agency maps has to be ACE‘s, if for no other reason than the wacky pictograms. The typeface is Public Sans.
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