A timeline of the New York City Subway Map

Lab Reports, Timelines
TimelineJS for NYC subway map


When I traveled around New York City last year, I had to admit that the New York City subway has a brilliant system, which works 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Also, whenever I try to transfer from one route to another, the subway map is the best way to figure my way out. During the research, I found that people from 1904 to 1940 should have been inconvenient passengers – there was no official map which showed the whole network subway routes. These interesting facts led me to dig into A brief history of the New York City subway map.

New York City subway Map has a distinguishable development related to the NYC subway’s history. In its early period, due to run subway lines by three different companies, official subway map had been published separately and didn’t contained the whole network(Wikipedia). There were other subway maps, which produced by commercial companies, covered all network to fulfill the public’s demand(Wayback Machine). After the integration of the subway lines by New York City, official map eventually showed all the unified subway lines and put many efforts on the map to be a guide to New York City. The current NYC subway map dates from a design first published in June 1979, since then, only minor revisions had been changed(Wikipedia).



Wikidepia comes always first whenever I start to search for something. I found information about NYC subway map which led me to research the history of NYC subway itself. Next, I searched in google image about NYC subway map that has big enough resolution. Eventually, I discovered the major source of my research – Wayback machine. It has precious and detailed information which help me to know important issues in history.

Spreadsheet for NYC subway map

Matching the records of these two main sources, I made a list of a timeline and roughly add all the records, timeline, and the developments. TimlineJS is a truly helpful tool to list all the significant events together at a glance. There are also other example projects at the homepage so that I became to know how to deal with the spreadsheet. I wrote titles, descriptions, image captions and added image address, color codes for the background. Before saving my spreadsheet, to use TimelineJS, it is required to Publish to the Web.


These informative texts or images and the interactions of carousels make people more engaging and interested in browsing a brief history of NYC subway map. Most importantly, the TimelineJS can be embedded anywhere such as a news platform or blog. TimelineJS let the contents to be more rich and readable.

TimelineJS for NYC subway map

Spreadsheet for NYC subway map

Reflection & Future Direction

I began this project to understand the New York City Subway Map, but I think I only have got some smattering knowledge of it. I picked and explain what a brief history of NYC subway map is. but as I mentioned before, the New York City subway Map has a distinguishable development related to the NYC subway’s history. Whenever any organizations formed or rearranged, they commissioned to make a new subway map. It would be better to add significant events of the New York City subway which will tell us more about the subway map itself.

Further, I would like to branch out into the history of the United State of America’s transit system. Without any doubt, this kind of projects needs to deal with lots of data including fine images. To make a good timeline, I shall work more on categorizing information through high-quality research.