Here’s everything we learned from this election-themed tube map we just made

Oooooh. Image: TfL/Ed Jefferson.

It is ELECTION TIME, so I thought it was time for CityMetric to have exciting NEW MAP: the TUBE MAP of MPs!

No, this is not some hilarious satires where I label Chuka Ummana as an interchange between the red line and the yellow line LOL!!! I have instead just drawn dots on the actual tube map to indicate which party currently controls the constituency it’s in – or at least did before parliament was dissolved. Because I wanted to.

Some caveats:

1) To work this out I looked up the postcodes for each station in the parliament website’s “find your constituency” tool (or squinted at maps in cases where the stations have no postcode). Some stations are very close to constituency boundaries so might be considered debatable – if you think I’ve given a station the incorrect affiliation please feel free to details this by writing a letter in green crayon then flushing it down the toilet.

2) Probably the “right” way to represent this data is one coloured dot per station but I enjoyed placing multiple dots to “fill in” the more complicated stations like Euston so I did it anyway? Use blue crayon to complain about this one.

Here’s the map.

Click to expand. Image courtesy of TfL.

Anyway, what does this actually tell us?

Outer London is full of Tories, don’t go there

Apart from South East London – except this is misleading because my map doesn’t include the National Rail stations which form a lot of the transport there so just don’t go there anyway.

This is even starker if you look at it by zone (with the inevitable exception of Zone 1 for fairly obvious reasons).

The Toriest Line is: the Metropolitan Line

And that’s not even counting the stops that are currently “independent” due to David Gauke not being a Tory anymore.

The Labourest Line is: the Emirates Airline?

Sure? With 100 per cent of its two stops in Labour constituencies they should start piping in “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” over the speakers as you descend towards the Millennium Dome I guess.

Meanwhile in actual transport infrastructure, the DLR has over 95 per cent of its stops in Labour areas.

The Lib Dem-est line is the tram.

It’s on the only line with any Lib Dem stops at all, and even it isn’t veeery Lib Dem – they only “hold” 2 stations.

Cross party stations

The only “linked” stations on the map that cross parties are Tower Hill and Tower Gateway – Tower Hill is Labour, while Tower Gateway, lying just over the border in the Cities of London and Westminster, is Conservative. Why not interview some people walking between one and the other in a futile attempt to divine something?

Anyway isn’t something happening today???

The election could of course rewrite the political tube map entirely! Well, a few bits of it.

In south west London we can see that Yougov’s latest MRP numbers suggest that Richmond Park is going to flip back to the Lib Dems while Putney could swing to Labour

 

Image courtesy of TfL.

As could Chipping Barnet in the north:

Image courtesy of TfL.

 

Here’s the full map according to YouGov predictions:

Click to expand. Image courtesy of TfL.

And here, if you’d really like, is an exciting interactive map where you can compare this with the current situation and that after the last three elections.


 

 
 
 
 

Here’s a fantasy metro network for Birmingham & the West Midlands

Birmingham New Street. Image: Getty.

Another reader writes in with their fantasy transport plans for their city. This week, we’re off to Birmingham…

I’ve read with interest CityMetric’s previous discussion on Birmingham’s poor commuter service frequency and desire for a “Crossrail” (here and here). So I thought I’d get involved, but from a different angle.

There’s a whole range of local issues to throw into the mix before getting the fantasy metro crayons out. Birmingham New Street is shooting up the passenger usage rankings, but sadly its performance isn’t, with nearly half of trains in the evening rush hour between 5pm and 8pm five minutes or more late or even cancelled. This makes connecting through New Street a hit and, mainly, miss affair, which anyone who values their commuting sanity will avoid completely. No wonder us Brummies drive everywhere.


There are seven local station reopening on the cards, which have been given a helping hand by a pro-rail mayor. But while these are super on their own, each one alone struggles to get enough traffic to justify a frequent service (which is key for commuters); or the wider investment needed elsewhere to free up more timetable slots, which is why the forgotten cousin of freight gets pushed even deeper into the night, in turn giving engineering work nowhere to go at all.

Suburban rail is the less exciting cousin of cross country rail. But at present there’s nobody to “mind the gap” between regional cross-country focussed rail strategy , and the bus/tram orientated planning of individual councils. (Incidentally, the next Midland Metro extension, from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill, is expected to cost £450m for just 11km of tram. Ouch.)

So given all that, I decided to go down a less glamorous angle than a Birmingham Crossrail, and design a Birmingham  & Black Country Overground. Like the London Overground, I’ve tried to join up what we’ve already got into a more coherent service and make a distinct “line” out of it.

Click to expand. 

With our industrial heritage there are a selection of old alignments to run down, which would bring a suburban service right into the heart of the communities it needs to serve, rather than creating a whole string of “park & rides” on the periphery. Throw in another 24km of completely new line to close up the gaps and I’ve run a complete ring of railway all the way around Birmingham and the Black Country, joining up with HS2 & the airport for good measure – without too much carnage by the way of development to work around/through/over/under.

Click to expand. 

While going around with a big circle on the outside, I found a smaller circle inside the city where the tracks already exist, and by re-creating a number of old stations I managed to get within 800m of two major hospitals. The route also runs right under the Birmingham Arena (formerly the NIA), fixing the stunning late 1980s planning error of building a 16,000 capacity arena right in the heart of a city centre, over the railway line, but without a station. (It does have two big car parks instead: lovely at 10pm when a concert kicks out, gridlocks really nicely.)

From that redraw the local network map and ended up with...

Click to expand. 

Compare this with the current broadly hub-and-spoke network, and suddenly you’ve opened up a lot more local journey possibilities which you’d have otherwise have had to go through New Street to make. (Or, in reality, drive.) Yours for a mere snip at £3bn.

If you want to read more, there are detailed plans and discussion here (signup required).