Tag Archives: cities

Infographic on Commuter Volumes Across Different CIties

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.14.05 PMI saw this article on the Future of Daily Travel, part of the Good Cities Project.  The slightly-larger-than thumbnail sized infographic seemed intriguing.  So I bookmarked the page so I could come back to it later when I had the chance to really dig into it.

So many things going for it!  2.5D isometrics, used as graphic, colors, use of different types of transportation, use of XY space.  I couldn’t wait to get to it.

What a disappointment when I finally had a chance to look into it!

Any graphic has to be relatively easy to interpret.  The best allow you to “start easy” and get some initial “aha!”s, and then dig deeper, like some fine piece of art.  It’s OK to challenge and stretch your audience, but the payoff has to be there.  The opposite of this is to have the audience think, “is that it?”.  Or to make them feel dumb (I discuss this in a separate blog post).

It took me a while to realize that the icons (sprites for boats, cars, London double-decker buses, trains, etc.) had no meaning.  When you have something that take up that much room and color, it has to mean something.  It turns out that the LENGTH of the transportation does matter… BUT the location in XY space does not matter.  Or if it does, I can’t figure out the meaning.

Does the location of the person with the “Cost per Commuter” matter?  I dunno.  The # is nice, but there’s no way to compare it across the cities.  Maybe there is… I can’t tell.

Also, I got lost in the 2 colored lines per city.  Sure, most of the transport requires two line in the real world… is that what we’re trying to show?

There’s a lot of info here, and it still draws you in.  But I found it difficult to filter out what was informative and what was just cute.

What’s the “informative to cute” ratio in your graphics?