BILL CANNAN & COMPANY                                                                                                                                                             DESIGN CONSULTANTS


System Map with landmarks & geographic profile


Prior to designing a 3 mile square neighborhood map, each jurisdiction was asked to submit prioritized data regarding Government buildings, other important buildings, public parks & recreation areas, shopping & retail areas, bus & rail information including verification of streets and names.  This data was then compiled to create the individual map serving that particular Metro Station.  Initial map layouts were then re-submitted for jurisdiction approval. 

System and Neighborhood maps are displayed

at each station entry or exit.


The original five Neighborhood Maps were designed to reflect the location of Metro rail service in that station area.

It provided patrons with information regarding Landmarks, Federal and Municipal buildings and other local features determined by WMATA.

Each map covers approximately 9 square miles.  Station entry/exit points are included.

Collecting data for each map and coordinating information with local jurisdictions was required.

A total of 33 Neighborhood Maps were completed between 1974 - 1991


The System Map is designed in a geometric / diagrammatic style to incorporate Washington’s geographic landscape with all major rivers, parks and  landmarks including the Beltway and county borders.

All rail lines are color-coded to tie in with all other way-finding graphics in the system.

A Time / Fare panel lists all Metro stations and displays estimated travel times and required fares for each currently operating station in the system.

The map was designed on a grid to accommodate the future expansion of the Metro system. 

An additional graphic key defines transfer stations, open and future stations including which stations offer parking facilities.

A legend also identifies each color coded rail line

and the ”beginning & end of the line” for each station.

Neighborhood Map with station locations

An alpha-numeric grid on each Neighborhood Map coordinates an alphabetical listing of all entries on each map.

A standard Neighborhood Map format is established for all future maps.

These 5 maps were part

of the first Metro contract.

As they become operational, System Maps display Time and Fare information for each color coded station in the system. 

Clear overlays are used to update information as it changes.

Geographic representation of actual rail lines.

The System Map design had to retain its  legibility in a variety of formats ranging from 36” x 36” Platform Maps (backlit), 19” x 19” Train Maps and 6” x 6” handouts.


Smaller scale application of the System Map are used on board all rail cars as Train Maps and the Emergency Exit panels incorporating all emergency procedures.

Design: Wyman & Cannan / Bill Cannan & Co. - Bill Cannan - Lance Wyman - Steve Harding - Brian Flahive - Aki - Dennis O’Brien - Jose Luis Ortiz Tellez

Francisco Gallardo - Bruce Barrett - Yukie Matsushita - Kevin Cannan - Sean Cannan  - Christophe Bardot 

Research: - Judy Harkison

Client: WMATA  - Sprague Thresher - Emanuel Mevorah - Ann Elkington - Mark Lewis

Published - Print Casebooks / Transit Maps of the World / Maps

contact: Bill Cannan /

Retained in 1974 by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to design and develop a Map program for the new subway system being constructed to serve Washington, DC and neighboring VA and MD.

Each Neighborhood Map incorporates a Time & Place overlay with a “you are here” figure and walking time and distances from that particular station to points of interest.  A drop-out-circle highlights that area of the neighborhood.

The initial handout map showing the first 6 operating stations in the system and it’s eventual network.

A concept sketch showing the pocket sized dollar bill format would accommodate the System Map.

The first generation of Neighborhood Maps were hand-cut in Rubylith, the standard masking material used at that time for creating film separations for silk screen production.

Over the time span needed to create 33 new Neighborhood Maps, we transitioned to the use of electronic media for generating art for map production.  1991 Greenbelt map shown above.