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Singapore MRT Map


Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Map

by Kenneth Lyen

A Singapore magazine called Designer has an article about subway maps. The Singapore subway system is relatively new, and is known as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Currently there are only three lines, and the map depicts each line in a different color. Red for the North-South line, green for the East-West line, and purple for the North-East line: Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Routemap

However, according to this article, the authorities of the MRT system have decided to simplify this to two colors. The rationale is that commuters would be confused by having too many colors. Also, it is to prevent the running out of colors when new lines are added to the system.

Unfortunately, it appears that the reduction from three colors to two has already caused passenger confusion, necessitating the need to put up more signs to guide the puzzled commuters.

Hence it is of interest to compare the Singapore underground map with those from other countries, to see if one could learn something from their design and color schemes.

Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway
Beijing Subway
Shanghai Subway

Tokyo Subway
Seoul Subway
London Underground
Berlin Metro
Paris Metro
Moscow Metro Transportation
Rome Metro
Milan Underground
Barcelona Metro
New York City Subway
Washington DC Subway
Toronto Subway
Montreal Metro
Buenos Aires Metro
Melbourne Train Network

By reducing the number of colors to a minimum, is Singapore deliberately trying to be unique and original? To me, far from being confusing, color seems to add to the clarity and aesthetics of maps. Or am I color prejudiced?

One last remark... aren't some of the underground maps absolutely beautiful? A genuine work of art?

9 November 2004