Mass transit systems are a marvel of the modern world, not only in functionality, but also design. A good transit map combines the best of both of those worlds and, consequently, can be the subject of much fanfare, as evidenced by the success of Mark Ovendeen's Transit Maps of the World. The book has been recently reissued in expanded and updated form, and includes subway, light rail, and streetcar maps from cities around the globe. The gorgeous and comprehensive collection contains many modern maps, but we've compiled fifteen historic ones to ogle—some of which were put to use while others never made it beyond planning stages. To see more of the awesome feats of modern cartography (there are literally hundreds!), you can buy the book here.
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1. ANTWERP, BELGIUM
"Pre-Metro" system map, from circa 1970. Credit: collection of Richard Thorogood
2. BERLIN, GERMANY
From circa 1910. Credit: collection of Axel Mauruszat
3. BERN, SWITZERLAND
From the 1990s. Credit: collection of Richard Thorogood
4. BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
1967 map. Credit: collection of Richard Thorogood
5. CHARLEROI, BELGIUM
Unrealized 1970s map. Credit: collection of Mike Ashworth
6. GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN
1966 map. Credit: Mike Ashworth collection
7. LIMA, PERU
Proposal from the 1970s. Credit: collection of Richard Thorogood
8. LONDON, ENGLAND
1908 map. Credit: collection of Peter Lloyd
9. MARSEILLE, FRANCE
1977 map. Credit: collection of Richard Thorogood
10. LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND
Proposal from the 1970s. Credit: collection of Mike Ashworth
11. MOSCOW, RUSSIA
1965 map, used only twice. Credit: collection of Peter Lloyd
12. NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
1958 map, digitally remastered by Max Roberts.
13. PARIS, FRANCE
From 1916. Credit: collection of Julian Pepinster
14. PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
1904 trolley map. Reproduction courtesy of the collection of Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library
15. WASHINGTON, D.C.
1880 map of street railways. Credit: Library of Congress