There are reports today that there are plans for more coordination when it comes to bus systems in Metro Detroit for the next Regional Transit Authority ballot proposal, that might or might not come to voters in 2018.

However, Detroit could have had a subway system, according to plans from a hundred years ago that were scrapped.

But what if we did get a subway? That’s where this fantasy map from Mike Weiss comes in.

We chatted with Weiss about his production, that looks something straight out of New York City or Chicago.

“I grew up in the Detroit suburbs and always dreamt of a real transportation system for the city,” said Weiss, who now lives in New York. “In high school, I would study maps of Detroit, research about its history, and explore myself.”

“When I moved to Chicago and saw how a fully-functioning system fit in to the city and the benefits it provided, it inspired me to create this map. I have always had a penchant for transportation design as a hobby. My grandfather had given me an old map of Detroit as a gift, and it goes down to the detail of alleys and right-of-ways. By using a population density map, I mapped corridors to connect the highest density areas and areas where the lack of density could spur development. Then, using my knowledge of rail transit planning, I planned routes that could operate efficiently end-to-end and where connections between them made the most sense.”

There are some interesting details that vary from some other maps, including keeping the train lines off major spoke lines to open then up for Bus Regional Transit to connect the suburbs.

Another interesting thing is that there isn’t a line straight up Woodward, possiblyleaving that to BRT, and no line down 8 Mile Road.

“The first iteration is modeled after the Chicago ‘L’ train map in terms of labeling and colors. When the M1 rail line was named the Q, I rebranded the map in the NYC Subway design scheme and a play off the Q train here. The Q line stops on this map mirror the actual Q line, the backbone of the entire system.”

There have been quite a few iterations of the map, and the outer terminal of each line is planned as a multi-modal connector to regional rail (e.g. Schaefer-Boynton offering a connection to DTW).

What are your thoughts?

Share this post