Home > Contemplations > One Simple Way The TTC Can Fix Signage: Visually Separating Yonge From University-Spadina

One Simple Way The TTC Can Fix Signage: Visually Separating Yonge From University-Spadina


TTC Map via TTC.ca

There is a whole bunch of news today about how the TTC has unveiled a pilot program of new signage which is supposed to make everything clearer and easier to understand because they’ll be using numbers as well as names for each of the subway and streetcar lines. What the folks at the TTC don’t seem to get is that people – especially those who aren’t from the city – is that the U shaped Yonge-University-Spadina Line is in of itself confusing to people. As I mentioned in a post in March of 2011 “Spotted: TTC Referring To Subway Lines By Color!” I think that this would end up making navigating the system way easier.

I have been asked for help with directions on the TTC subway numerous times and have noticed that frequently the people tell me they are trying to get somewhere on “the yellow line.” If you take a look at the picture above of the TTC subway map, if someone tells you they are trying to get to a stop on the “Yellow Line” it tells you very little because the “Yellow Line” which is really knows as the Yonge-University-Spadina Line doubles back on itself and sending someone to Sheppard-Yonge Station instead of Downsview means they are going to be in the completely wrong area of the city when they get out of the subway. This will leave these poor people even more lost than when they started which is just bad on so many levels. My simple, easy solution is pictured below, separate the Yonge-University-Spadina line visually into two different colored lines which happen to connect with each other. Simple, right?

TTC-Subway-Map EDITED Yonge-Separate-University-Spadina

In the above map I chose dark blue as the color for the Yonge line to be switched to but it doesn’t really matter what color they choose as long as it is different from the University-Spadina side as well as the Bloor-Danforth Line, Sheppard Line, and Scarborough RT. Now when a tourist is trying to get to Lawrence they will be able to specify they need to go to Lawrence on the Yellow Line or Lawrence on the Dark Blue Line or Lawrence on the Light Blue Line and anyone will immediately know which station they mean.

Changing the lines to be called by numbers or colors won’t help ease the use of the system if the numbers and colors don’t represent easily relatable concepts. This is easily done and will only cost the amount of money it takes to print and change the maps already in the system and maybe to record a new voice-over for the PA when the trains stop in Union Station to explain that the train will continue going north on the other colored line and there is no need to get off of the train.

What do you think? Good idea? Better than what the TTC is already doing? Let me know.

Image Credits:

Current TTC map at the top taken from the TTC’s website at http://ttc.ca/Subway/interactivemap.jsp using a screenshot.

Bottom TTC Map with Yonge Line turned Dark Blue taken from http://tourbytransit.com and edited to differentiate the Yonge Line.

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  1. August 10, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I totally agree. I googled, “why not separate the yonge uni spadina” line and this came up.

    It makes no sense to have it as one line now, as you rightly mention, there’s a colour coded system now so why add to the confusion of two lines running north just a few blocks apart having the same colour?!

    Two years ago I visited Toronto for a few days. As a graphic designer I noted the poor signage, and was delighted at the beautiful old black and white signage that still exists from the 50s.

    Now, I’ve moved to Toronto (albeit for only four months). I got here a week ago and I can see the TTCs attempts at trying to tart up the signage but it still isn’t working. So in my spare time I’m just going to design my own- I’m sure it will get no further than for my own amusement but even my freelance/small business design skills are better than what have been employed in the existing model.

    • August 14, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Very cool, Ritchie.

      If you ever feel like sharing the results of your efforts I would love to see them as I am sure many others in the city would! Maybe post them on /r/Toronto?

  1. February 17, 2016 at 6:04 am

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