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Queen City Transit

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qctransit_01.jpg

Several years ago, when I was still living in the south and in college, I spent several weeks working on this project. It started as an excersie in branding and information graphics, but turned into an all out fantasy of what could happen in Charlotte. This was before any real plans for the light rail were announced so this was basically my dad and I looking at a map and hammering out what we thought the perfect system would be. Cost not being an issue.

The point wasn't to come up with a realistic transit system for the city. The point was to make an attractive brand for the city. So all the branding (logo, logotype, color, collateral, etc) as well as information graphics. It was really fun, and a whole lot of work.

But no one outside of school and my circle of designer friends ever saw it. This seems like a good spot to get some feedback.

qctransit_02.jpg

More Images

System Maps PDF (386 KB)

Brand Book PDF (6.03 MB)

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I think Queen City Transit would be a lot better brand than the hokie Lynx brand which CATS adopted for rail transit. Thanks for sharing this with UrbanPlanet!

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I am really kicking myself for not pursuing this more when I had the chance. The designs not only for LYNX but also the CATS branding in general looked 10 years old when it was introduced. The city needs an identity, and something the citizens can relate to and be proud of. Something timeless, and iconic. How many other towns use CATS? I know of three without even reasearching.

Clemson... Savannah (Chatham Area Transit)... Cincy...

World class city's don't jump into kitchy treads... and now that I have the experience and company to back my ideas up, the city commits to LYNX and I missed the bus.

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I really like the logo. Very forward looking and modern, yet simple and clean. Something that the QC would definitely be proud of. I do agree that the CATS and LYNX typeface/logo is dated and time for an overhaul.

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I hate that you posted this because now I am going to want this system and not the one we have now. Just looking at this makes me think Charlotte is a cosmopolitan northern looking city. I would love to just blink and Charlotte looked like this. Good Stuff!!

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Wow. This is great work!

Interesting choice, putting the main transfer hub at 7th street.

Which of these lines did you see as LRT? Which did you see as HRT subways?

This plan rivals the fiscally-unconstrained plans actually on the books for Boston and Chicago. Also, how would you do this differently knowing what's already under construction / in the planning stages for Charlotte? Notably, the South Corridor LRT, and the plan to relocate Amtrak to the Gateway MMTC on Trade.

Your workmanship is absolutely stunning. What application did you use to do the diagrams, if you don't mind my asking? Did you use Illustrator?

This is more readable and more usable than any transit brochure I've picked up in this country, bar none. But then again, Washington is the only transportation system in the country that's anywhere near as user-friendly as your plan for Charlotte, so most brochures tend to muddy things up by explaining the more complicated aspect of the systems (inter-modal transfers, multiple hub stations, etc.)

This sort of system might just work 50 years from now when 2,000,000+ people are living in Mecklenburg county.

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I agree that this idea has great legs...or wheels :thumbsup: Our current buses need to be utilized better in many aspects. Why not sponsor Artist Murals for the sides? Different businesses could contribute and be listed as supporters so there would be ROI. And why not have different philosophical sayings for the back of them?

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Relative to Charlotte's size, this is a great model of what city transit should look like. This reminds me a lot of Sydney's CityRail and how they had their brochures set up. From my experience with HRT there, I only wish Charlotte could even come close to what you have built up.

And while not trying to critique your layout, it just irks me that you skipped over UNCC, but that's just who I am. For a brief moment in time, when I was just skimming, I thought CATS had actually come up with a new idea and brand. But before I had read your post, I looked at the map, and of course looked for a campus stop. I was so ticked, for at least that one moment. I almost started to bash the city for neglecting the school before I read what you had written. So it's all good. Great work, I love the name!

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Note the perfection in how the map overlays perfectly with the city's layout. It is a thing of Beauty!

I attatched a NASA satelite pic of CLT at night. Looking at the 2nd pic from above and the layout of CLT at night is striking!

Link to satelite pic of CLT.

http://www.darksky.org/images/sat.html

click on Charlotte, North Carolia

A2

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Thanks for the nice words everyone. To answer a few questions orulz brought up...

Which of these lines did you see as LRT? Which did you see as HRT subways?

At the time of the project, I believed all the lines to be Heavy Rail, with the exception on the purple downtown which was trolleys much like what is in place now. This is only because cost was not really something I was worried about. Nor was noise pollution or any of the other mess that comes with trying to get Heavy Rail. But now that I am looking at it, I think all the lines could work as LRT, especially the green & yellow which cross through the lesser populated areas.

How would you do this differently knowing what's already under construction / in the planning stages for Charlotte?

I think I would have done the whole project differently in that I would have skinned the current plans in the QC Transit brand. Making maps accurate to the 2030 plan, as well as signage and liveries for the selected vehicles would be a lot of fun and maybe a way to get a foot in the door with the people at CATS.

I did notice that the west side plans are basically my yellow line... almost exactly. I wonder how much these people got paid to design that.

What application did you use to do the diagrams, if you don't mind my asking? Did you use Illustrator?

Yes, Illustrator was used for pretty much all of it. InDesign was used to layout the Brand Book.

This is more readable and more usable than any transit brochure I've picked up in this country, bar none.

This is really nice to hear. Readable and usable is what my line of work is all about. I did A LOT of research when working on this project, mostly of European systems. You can see a lot of influence taken from London, Moscow, Berlin and also the NYC Subway maps from the 60s and 70s.

it just irks me that you skipped over UNCC

Hehe, please, critique. That was the whole point of posting this. Although I am confused about what you're saying. UNCC has 3 stops in the area including University Place, WT Harris, and that brown line stop is right on campus... I believe it was placed over near the soccer and baseball fields.

This reminds me a lot of Sydney's CityRail and how they had their brochures set up.

Everything about Sydneys public transit is beautiful. That city seems like a paradise to me, which I bet is funny to someone from there.

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It's really a nice plan. Certainly better presented and branded than what CATS has come up with.

A few changes I would recommend are:

  • The green line that terminates at Lucia is problematic. It crosses Mountain Island Lake 3 times and mostly through protected areas. And there really isn't anything in Lucia. It's a lot of track and bridges for just one stop, so I would probably terminate it at the brown circle line, or bring it up to serve the west side of I-77 more.

  • Given the TOD, there ought to be a lot more stops on the north of the red line and it should be extended to Lowes HQ in Mt. Mourne.

  • I think the stop that is actually at UNCC should be connected to the blue line as well as the brown line.

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I hate that you posted this because now I am going to want this system and not the one we have now. Just looking at this makes me think Charlotte is a cosmopolitan northern looking city. I would love to just blink and Charlotte looked like this. Good Stuff!!

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it just irks me that you skipped over UNCC

Hehe, please, critique. That was the whole point of posting this. Although I am confused about what you're saying. UNCC has 3 stops in the area including University Place, WT Harris, and that brown line stop is right on campus... I believe it was placed over near the soccer and baseball fields.

This reminds me a lot of Sydney's CityRail and how they had their brochures set up.

Everything about Sydneys public transit is beautiful. That city seems like a paradise to me, which I bet is funny to someone from there.

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And the Blue line has a station for UNCC. In fact, in the northeast, the blue line has a striking similarity to the blue line in CATS's plans. Although, this proposal includes the locations in Cabarrus.

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