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Mapping All Of California's Public Transportation

Think of California and you might only think of freeways and traffic jams, but some designers have mashed up all the state’s various local transportation options into one map, so you can get anywhere without a car. It just might take a while.

Mapping All Of California's Public Transportation

California may be the perfect place to take a road trip, with wide freeways, curvy coastal roads, and convertible-ready weather for most of the year. But if you look hard enough, a substantial ad hoc network of trains, buses, and ferries connects pretty much the state’s whole length—from one border at Tijuana to another at Brookings, Oregon, and all points in between—assuming you’re patient enough to wait out all the messy transfers.

A team of California designers and mapmakers have put together a nifty new rail map that sews together the patchwork of regional, local, and national public transportation. "Whereas many of us Californians have dreamed of road trips over a highway map, the California Rail Map shows 500+ destinations reachable on the train or connecting bus or ferry," write the creators.

It would probably take days to try to make some of these connections, so the whole thing remains mostly a psycho-geographic fantasy projected into InDesign until the high-speed rail line is finally built. But it does appeal to the geography nerd in me anyway, causing me to wonder, why not throw myself at the mercy of public transit to see California by bus? Who says the California dream can’t include public-transit? And, finally, when (if ever) can we expect this map to have an app version?

The PDF lives on for free here, but a hard copy version is available as a poster for $12.45, if you’re into that sort of thing.