An Unofficial Delhi Metro Route Map

23Aug11

Update: All versions of my Phase 2 & Phase 3 maps are available for download in PDF format at this blog’s Route Maps page (click here). Clicking on the 2 maps below will also link to that page

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Before I get into explanations and reasonings, let me put up the two Delhi Metro route maps I recently made:

First, the Phase 2 route map, showing all functional lines in 2011:

PDF version of this map available at this blog’s Route Maps page

Second, the Phase 3 route map, showing all functional lines, as well as planned lines and extensions, to be opened by 2016, shown in light grey color:

PDF version of this map available at this blog’s Route Maps page

Now on to the whys and wherefores. Delhi Metro is really good (overall) at building actual metro rail systems, but they aren’t very good at hiring graphic designers or ad companies to sell their product or create ad/visual campaigns to promote the metro system. It looks like everything they do towards this end is done in-house, or within the government structure. Luckily for them they built the actual system well, and the need for good public transportation in Delhi was so dire that the system sells itself. Still, it would be nice to have visual symbols that catch the popular imagination and that people can use to identify with the system.

One such visual symbol is the metro system map. These maps of course serve an important practical function to commuters, but are also visual representations of the system at different levels. Iconic maps like the London Tube map or the NYC Subway map have taken on various meanings much beyond their basic intent, and the visual vocabularies of these maps are adopted, altered, recreated and repeated the world over for various metro systems. It is at this level of design that I think Delhi Metro is lacking.

Around the time of the Commonwealth Games in Oct 2010, Delhi Metro came out with a route map (below) of it’s newly expanded system. There is an obvious attempt at replicating the usual visual vocabulary of metro system maps, but in my opinion there is a lack of flair and design sensibility. Which is why I decided to make a map of my own – following the unofficial conventions of metro map making – that had, in my opinion, a little bit more visual excitement than DMRC’s official map. I’m not a graphic designer by profession, but I think the result was ok (see the first two maps in this post)!

Delhi Metro’s route map for phase 2:

Download a printable PDF version of this map here (365 KB)

I’ve been wanting to make a route map for some time now, and got the impetus to make it when DMRC’s website came out recently with the map below to show the alignments of it’s phase 3 routes (shout-out to the people at Skyscrapercity’s Delhi Metro thread who continuously update the thread with new information). While this map can’t be used as a commuter map, it shows all the lines and stations (both existing and future) at an easily understandable scale, so I used it as my base for both the Phase 2 and 3 route maps.

Download a printable PDF version of this map here (5.2 MB)

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