014 Interactive Subway Maps

If Google Maps, iPhones and every car GPS can do it, how hard can it be to make it work where you really need the help? Large scale interactive subway maps on subway platforms and subway cars could make the most complicated system in the world easy to negotiate.

Touch your destination and the map shows you how to get there (it already knows where you are). Complete with all the train changes and current advisories, realistic travel times and even detailed directions for transfers in tricky stations like 42 Street.

No more leaving the platform to ask the attendant at the token booth (a funny name for anyone who hasn’t ever seen a subway token) for directions you will forget as soon as you re-enter the platform. We never believed the Metrocard
machine could replace the token sold by a human. It has. And it’s better. The interactive map could replace the last vestige of personnel-driven subway knowledge, both on the train and on the platform.

We are almost there with the kiosks currently appearing in many stations do some, but not all, of this. Replacing the huge paper maps on the platforms and the smaller ones in the cars with interactive ones would complete the effort. 

The only downside is not getting to chat with tourists asking for directions to the World Trade Center...although you could just show them on the map!