This map shows the walking distance between CTA ‘L’ stations

January 10, 2016 at 11:05 am

I was inspired by Guillaume Martinetti, who created this map showing the walking times between each station of the Paris Métro and RER:

Paris Métro walking distance map

The stations on the Métro are so close together (average distance between stations is 1,844 ft, or about half a kilometer) that it sometimes is faster just to walk than to wait for a train, especially if you’re going one stop just to transfer. Guillaume’s map shows this perfectly.

Apparently there is a similar map for the London Tube – but it’s actually made by Transport for London:

London Tube walking distance map

London Tube stations look a little further apart by walking than those in Paris.

I was inspired by both of these maps, so I decided to make one for the Chicago ‘L’, run by CTA:

CTA rail map showing walking distances in minutes between stations


It’s also available as a PDF.

CTA walking times map thumbnail

Close-up of the map.

The numbers adjacent to the line between two stations indicates the time to walk between each station entrance as published in this dataset from CTA. Black numbers indicate two or more train services (i.e. colors) run along that line at all times, such as in the Loop. To get these numbers, I wrote a hacky ruby script to get the walking times between each station pair from the Google Maps Directions API. I double-checked and edited any outliers, then used Adobe Illustrator to add the walking times.

You may be thinking, “Hey, I could walk between a and z quicker than that!” Note that the map shows the walking distance between station entrances; so if you’re thinking of walking Fullerton to Sedgwick, your walk would be only 29 minutes, instead of the 32 that the map suggests (10 + 22). Also remember that many ‘L’ stations straddle a block along an alley where Google Maps would not tell you to walk, adding walking time. In many other cities, subway lines run underneath streets instead, mirroring the path of a walk.

I used the “light” ‘L’ system map from CTA, but am working on using the “standard” map once some construction-related reroutes are complete.

Do you see any anomalies or anything interesting on the map? Let me know in the comments.