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This App Would Combine NYC’s Subway and Bus Maps for First Time

By Ben Fractenberg | October 20, 2016 5:37pm | Updated on October 21, 2016 2:49pm
 Designer Anthony Denaro is fundraising to create an app that shows both the full subway and bus map in the city.
Designer Anthony Denaro is fundraising to create an app that shows both the full subway and bus map in the city.
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Anthony Denaro

Designer Anthony Denaro grew up taking the Q5 bus in Queens to the E train in Jamaica, but it wasn’t until he started to design a new subway map that he realized there were three other buses he also could have taken.

Denaro, 32, launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his "Bullet Map," a printed map and app that will show commuters a full subway and bus guide of the city for the first time, according to the designer.

“I grew up never really seeing a bus map,” Denaro told DNAinfo New York. “For those people who are kind of tunnel vision of how they commute and how they learn to commute, this will crack the system open so they can see all the other options.”

He started working on the map six years ago and quickly found how complicated our transit system is.

“New York City transit is no joke,” Denaro said. “There’s a lot of it.”

He continued to refine the map, playing with different graphic styles, finally settling on the two maps he would the combine: one that shows the subways in a style reminiscent of Massimo Vignelli's classic design with select bus lines in blue and one that shows the subways with all the bus lines in gray.

Bullet Map

“It’s definitely not a tourist map,” said Denaro, who studied architecture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and recently moved to Los Angeles.

He said he hopes longtime commuters who live far from a subway stop may see new routes they weren’t aware of before.

Of course, there is plenty of competition with other maps and Google or Apple maps, which both give subway and bus directions.

But Denaro said that his map offers something they don’t. 

"They’re showing info in a piecemeal way — start point and end point — but it doesn’t give you a full context," he added. "It doesn't show you this info."

Denaro said the first iteration of the Bullet Map will just include the basics, but that he plans to eventually add functions like real-time service changes.

The Kickstarter campaign had raised nearly $3,000 out of his $8,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon.

Denaro said he hopes his design may some day be adopted by the MTA.

“We want to build the support to get the public behind to get this to become the official map,” he said.

But design changes, like transit improvements, can require a bit of patience.

“[I’ve] spoken to a couple people [at the MTA]," Denaro said. “Things move kind of slow.”