A Better Transit Map for New York & New Jersey

New York & New Jersey Subway Map with NYC Subway and PATH service in the five boroughs and New Jersey.

Subway NY NJ: PATH on the NYC Subway Map

Historically, geographically, and commercially New York and the industrial district in the northern part of the state of New Jersey constitute a single community. —Interstate Commerce Commission, 1917

PATH connects New York and New Jersey. Like the NYC Subway, PATH operates 24/7, provides frequent service with short headways (time between trains), and accepts the pay-per-ride MetroCard for fare payment. PATH has six stations in Manhattan (four with direct physical connections to the Subway), and seven in New Jersey.

On the current MTA Subway Map, PATH is represented using the visual style labeled “Commuter rail service” in the map’s key: pale blue “railroad track” lines, square station markers, and small, lightweight text labels. This doesn’t effectively communicate to transit riders that PATH is also a rapid-transit service.

Subway NY NJ replaces the faint blue ‘commuter rail’ depiction of PATH with solid lines rendered in the light blue color used in PATH branding. This identifies it as a subway rapid transit service, similar to the New York City Subway.

On the MTA Subway Map, New Jersey and stations across the river from Manhattan are missing, so Subway riders who want to connect to PATH to reach destinations in New Jersey currently see no information about where PATH can take them.

Subway NY NJ uses empty space on the left edge of the current NYC Subway Map to display the New Jersey waterfront, and four of the seven PATH stations in New Jersey that fit within the existing boundaries of the map: Exchange Place, Grove Street, Hoboken, and Newport. These stations, as well as World Trade Center, Christopher St, 9th St, 14th St, 23rd St, and 33rd St in New York, are indicated with station markers and labels that match the visual style of New York City Subway stations. An arrow in the lower left corner indicates that service continues off map to Journal Square, Harrison, and Newark. A map key includes essential information on service, fares, and where to find more information.


Comprehensive Maps Support Greater Transit Use

Transit maps like the New York City Subway Map are more than just way-finding tools; they become cultural assets that frame how people see the city. Over seven million people ride the subway on weekdays, and New York City received over 58 million visitors in 2012, which means the Subway Map is one of the most widely recognized public transit maps in the world.

Including PATH on the Subway Map in a manner that better reflects its role as New York’s “second subway” improves knowledge of cross-Hudson rapid transit among the largest audience of transit riders in the New York area, supports greater transit use and economic activity on both sides of the Hudson, and acknowledges the economic, cultural, and geographic ties between Manhattan and Hudson County, long-described as akin to New York City’s “sixth borough”.

“It’s one of the most densely populated counties in the US. It’s not a suburb of New York. It’s part of the urban area that’s adjacent to New York, and it’s gaining young adult population.” –Brian Lehrer on Hudson County, 2014

Hudson County is increasingly attracting residents and businesses with its combination of lower real estate prices, greater availability of space, and proximity to job centers in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. If all of Hudson County was a single city, its 660,282 residents would make it the 19th largest city in the United States, between Detroit, Michigan and El Paso, Texas.

The pace of young adults moving into the urban core has accelerated, particularly to Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey’s Hudson County. –Regional Plan Association, 2014


The Current NYC Subway Map Accurately Displays Multiple Rapid Transit Services, Except PATH

AirTrain JFK, a rapid-transit service operated by the Port Authority that connects JFK Airport with the NYC Subway and Long Island Rail Road, is included on the Subway Map in a visual style consistent with subway services.

AirTrain JFK on Subway Map

The Roosevelt Island Tram, a gondola service connecting Manhattan and Roosevelt Island, is also included on the map in a distinctive visual style. Displaying PATH in a similar, visually-consistent manner would serve as another example of smart inter-agency cooperation that directly benefits the transit-riding public.

Roosevelt Island Tram


Previous Subway Maps Included NJ and PATH

Subway maps in New York City have a long history of including the Hudson Waterfront and subway connections between New York and New Jersey. After the IRT, BMT, and Independent Subway System (IND) were consolidated into a single system, the 1948 Hagstrom map included the Jersey City waterfront, H&M lines labeled “Hudson Tubes (to Newark)”, stations in Manhattan, and Exchange Place station in New Jersey. The 1968 map displayed the H&M tunnels (labeled “PATH Tubes”), and stations (represented with black dots) more prominently than previous maps, but did not include labels containing station names. It also included an unlabeled outline of the Hudson Waterfront.

A look at how New York subway maps have included New Jersey and the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (renamed PATH in 1962).

Posted by Subway NY NJ on Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Hudson Waterfront and PATH were excluded from the 1972 map designed by Massimo Vignelli. A small portion of the Hudson Waterfront, labeled “New Jersey” reappeared on the 1979 map, but has been absent since about 1990. Bringing it back, and improving how PATH is represented, will give 1.8 billion annual transit riders a more complete picture of rapid-transit service in the urban core of New York and New Jersey. Subway NY NJ is meant to represent the kind of regional thinking and cooperation that directly benefits the transit-riding public, but wouldn’t cost the agencies much in terms of time or money, especially compared to capital projects.


Other Transit Maps Show Multiple Services

Interagency cooperation for the public benefit is seen elsewhere in the NY/NJ region, and in other cities. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service map prominently includes PATH service in a manner that is visually consistent with the presentation of HBLR lines.

HBLR Map

The Philadelphia Rail Transit Map shows rapid transit services provided by two agencies: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which operates most lines, and Delaware River Port Authority, which operates the PATCO Line connecting Philadelphia with Camden and several other points in New Jersey. The SEPTA map key includes the disclaimer “not a SEPTA service” next to the PATCO Line, but represents the line using a visual style consistent with all other rapid transit lines in Philadelphia.

Closeup: PATCO Speedline on SEPTA Rail Transit Map

The Berlin, Germany rail rapid transit map displays services provided by two agencies. Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) is the main public transport agency in Berlin, which manages the U-Bahn subway, as well as bus, ferry, and tram networks. Deutsche Bahn (DB) is the German national railway company, which manages the S-Bahn regional rail service. They appear together on the city’s official transit map, and operate with a unified fare structure and payment system.

SU-Bahn-Ausschnitt_AB


The Public Supports Subway NY NJ

5,000+ people support Subway NY NJ on our Facebook page.

65% of respondents said yes to an NJ.com poll asking Do you want N.J. included on NYC’s subway map?

Riders interviewed at the MTA’s Fulton Street Subway Station also expressed support for the Subway NY NJ map:

Should NJ Appear on the NYC Subway Map?See what riders at the Fulton Street subway station had to say about the proposed Subway NY NJ map.
Posted by Subway NY NJ on Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Media Coverage

One man’s mission to put New York’s secret subway back on the map, by John Elledge, CityMetric:

The PATH is as much a part of New York’s transport system as the DLR in London, or the S-Bahn in Berlin. It shares four stations with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) subway system; crosses the Hudson through two tunnels (one from the Village, the other from the Battery); and provides frequent services to Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark.

As late as the 1960s, the PATH trains did appear on the subway map, albeit in a different colour to the main system. Resurrecting this combined effort could be an easy win for the city authorities, Mader argues, expanding the functional area of the city for many residents at almost no cost. “We live in an era when capital construction is expensive. But ‘expansion’ doesn’t have to mean building a new line – it can come from giving a clearer map.” By making the map himself, Mader told us, he hoped to demonstrate to the MTA quite how easy it would be to actually, well, make this map.

You Are Here, by John Elledge and Barbara Speed, Skylines, the CityMetric podcast.

NJ Man Leads Fight To Feature PATH Trains Prominently On The NYC Subway Map, by Jen Carlson, Gothamist:

Mader has created a rendering of the new map himself, and his website Subway NY NJ holds his entire proposal. This week he told us, “I was also careful to stay within the existing geographical boundaries of the map, as well as the style guide, so that it would be clear that this can be added without fundamentally altering the character and usability of the map. I also added a description box with info on PATH, and a disclaimer that service is not provided by MTA, but MetroCard is accepted.”

A compelling proposal to enhance the representation of “New York’s second subway”, by Cameron Booth, Transit Maps:

I personally think that this is a simple but incredibly awesome amendment to the New York subway map that provides useful information to the end user – which is what a transit map should be about, right?

Should New York’s Subway Map Embrace NJ’s PATH Trains?, by Jeremiah Budin, Curbed NY.

We’ve seen a lot of outlandish proposed changes to the New York City subway map around these parts, but this may be the most galling one yet.

While Budin’s take on Subway NY NJ was disappointing, many of the 42 comments on his article strongly support the proposal. Here’s a sampling:

Mass transit makes the city work. Without question the PATH routes should be shown as proposed.

Either way, it makes no sense that the AirTrain is on the map as a colored line but PATH, which is run by the same agency, is not. The logical line to be drawn is not an arbitrary political border, but level of service and utility to users. That’s the line between rapid transit services (such as NYCSubway, AirTrain, PATH) on the one hand, and commuter railroads (NJT and LIRR) on the other. LIRR and NJT run much more limited services (not 24/7/365, LOOOONG headways), do not accept Metrocards, and are an order of magnitude more expensive. Not very relevant to most rapid transit users, who care about frequent, convenient, all-day services.

The JFK AirTrain, which is not run by the MTA, is not an NYC Subway line, and does not have integrated fares, is also on the map as a “colored” line.

Why all this attitude of “NJ sucks and can just go away”? We’re an integrated region that crosses state lines. We need to deal with that realistically. PATH benefits NYC and the whole region, not just NJ.