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The "ugly" TTC subway map (and how it ruins your mood and movement in the city) : a case study and redesign

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posted on 2021-05-21, 15:35 authored by Joanna Sida Liu
The TTC subway was built in 1949 to resolve the traffic issues of that era, issues that have only since intensified. At the time, any underground transportation system was an impressive accomplishment in design, engineering, construction, and city planning. Today, those same accomplishments—left to stagnate, age, and become overburdened—have become outdated and—measured against contemporary designs—sometimes even ridiculed. As the TTC continues trying to expand its infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing urban population, its progress leaves much to be desired—past decisions made without the foresight of urbanization, globalization, and technological innovation are being revealed to be inadequate. What we are left with is a face lift and hair extensions for a transit system that actually needs a brain transplant and genetic modification. But while this Major Research Project acknowledges the infrastructural inadequacies of Toronto’s TTC metro system, the focus here will specifically be on the TTC’s transit maps, branding, and graphic design which itself, I will argue, has not aged gracefully and is in serious need of an update—one that responds to and satisfies the needs of today’s mobile, increasingly design-savvy, and digitally connected citizens. Keywords: subway, map, representation, branding, wayfinding



Ryerson University




Master of Professional Communication


Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type