Metro Transit Maps: Show People Where They Can Go

I was recently out for a run in North Minneapolis when I saw something I wasn’t expecting to see: the #9 bus. After years of living in Minneapolis near the eastern end of the 9’s route, it hadn’t occurred to me that I could cross the city at a northwest angle to reach Theodore Wirth Park. That was a real eye-opener, and something I’ll be using soon.

Which made me wonder: Could I easily figure out where else I can reach from my home using the Metro Transit website?

It can be done, but it’s not obvious how. But, it seems like the pieces are there to do it.

Metro Transit provides a zoomable map with all of their routes, which allows one to see which routes are nearby.

Metro Transit Map Routes

They also have a route discovery option where clicking on a street will reveal which routes serve it.

Routes Serving Lake Street

And, they provide interactive route maps like this one for the 21:

Interactive 21 Route

But, tying this together is a bit tricker. If you go to the full version of the interactive route map, you’ll see a list of all routes along the right column of the page.

Interactive Route Finders

If you select a route, it will display like the Route 21 example above. Things get more interesting if you select more then one route (hold down the Command key while clicking routes on a Mac or possibly the Ctrl key on Windows).

Where I can Go Map

Doing that creates a “where can I go” map. One that’s limited to a maximum of 5 routes.

To take some friction out of this, it would be cool if Metro Transit built in the ability to select a location, and their walking tolerance, to trigger a display of available routes.

Perhaps, if people had an easier time figuring out where they could get to without a transfer, they’d take more of those trips?

Another option that would be slick. Show people where they can get to within a specific amount of time, including transfers. For example, where could I get to within 45 minutes?

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