I had the pleasure of visiting Madrid in October 2023, and I was frustrated by the lack of a unified map for metro and cercanías suburban rail. In a way, this wound up reflecting my fragmented fare payment experience between the two systems (it's all rather confusing for visitors without personal fare cards). A cursory internet search revealed this diagram, which seems to be a regular metro map overlaid with an awkward representation of the cercanías network — official, but nowhere to be found on the streets of Madrid.
While grateful for its existence, I find this diagram utterly underwhelming. Every cercanías corridor is drawn in a double-stroke line style, nearly indistinguishable from that of the light rail lines if not for its monochrome mauve and sharp corners. These corners make route tracing an ordeal through junctions, thanks to the network's extensive interlining typical of suburban rail. Labels step on route lines left and right, fussy angles abound, fare zones dominate the background, and accessibility information is absent. This is not a map fit to serve one of the world's great urban rail networks, so I figured I'd take a shot at something better.
I feel confident asserting that this is a more legible diagram, and I don't think it would feel out of place among other big-city metro maps. The central network could stand to be more elegantly untangled; indiscriminate use of 30° angles has its consequences, perhaps not helped by my thick, characteristically North American strokes. It is also worth mentioning that the diagram is not future-proofed to accommodate line 11's northward extension. With that said, in the interest of brevity, I'll note my design choices in bullet list format.
- Cercanías services drawn in full detail, with thin, faded lines for visual balance and hierarchy
- Curve radii vary to reflect each mode's relative speed and remove friction from complex cercanías network structure
- Central city abstracted to a grid pattern, to some effect
- Route lines follow unambiguous paths through interchanges for easier tracing
- Fare zone boundaries shown as ticks where they intersect rail lines, removing background clutter
- Accessibility information retained and inverted, to avoid cluttering newer parts of the network