You’d be forgiven for being confused about the recently published map of Milwaukee’s subway system. No, the city did not build one overnight. But a New York City-based company called Carticulate envisioned what a Milwaukee subway system could look like.
Matt Forrest, one of the founders of the company, graduated with degrees in sociology and geography in 2010 from UW Madison, and he put his degrees to good use making the map. He looked at historical data and population trends to decide the layout of the imagined subway lines and stops.
Although the company has made many theoretical maps since its founding in 2010, a friend of Forrest’s in Milwaukee actually inspired this one. “[We] took it and designed it,” he says.
Forrest looked at transit systems in other cities – Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example – to create the Milwaukee system. “A lot of the train system funneled to the Downtown area,” he says. Bringing people into the central business district of a city can spur growth, he says, “especially if they have a viable transit option.” Although Forrest says the map isn’t 100 percent realistic, rapid transit bus and light rail could provide transit “very similar to this without the same capital investment.”
Forrest wasn’t expecting the map to create the buzz it has, but has enjoyed watching all of the discussions surrounding transit in the city. “However it turns out, it’s a great discussion to be having,” he says.
See a high-resolution version of the map here.